Wikipedia can help in prediction of disease outbreaks

Wikipedia can be used to predict diseases

Main Point:

Wikipedia can be used to monitor and forecast diseases throughout the world.

Published in:

PLOS Computational Biology

Study Further:

Researchers have successfully monitored outbreaks of different diseases in different parts of the world with the help of Wikipedia. They have successfully worked on influenza outbreaks in the United States, Japan, Poland, and Thailand; dengue fever in Thailand and Brazil; and tuberculosis in China and Thailand. Researchers were also able to forecast all outbreaks at least 28 days before the outbreak except tuberculosis outbreak in China.

Selected successful model nowcasts (Credit: Generous et al./PLOS Computational Biology)
Selected successful model nowcasts (Credit: Generous et al./PLOS Computational Biology)

This shows that people start looking for the diseases and related information on Wikipedia before they go for some medical advice from a physician.

Researchers are of opinion that with the help of this research, further work can be done on the development of an efficient disease monitoring and forecasting system. This system could help even developed countries as some infectious diseases has significant impact in those countries as, for example, 3,000 and 49,000 deaths are reported in the flu seasons in the United States.

Reference:

Generous, N., Fairchild, G., Deshpande, A., Del Valle, S., & Priedhorsky, R. (2014). Global Disease Monitoring and Forecasting with Wikipedia PLoS Computational Biology, 10 (11) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003892

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.