Design Choices for Automated Disease Surveillance in the Social Web

Mark Abraham Magumba, Peter Nabende, Ernest Mwebaze


The social web has emerged as a dominant information architecture accelerating technology innovation on an unprecedented scale. The utility of these developments to public health use cases like disease surveillance, information dissemination, outbreak prediction and so forth has been widely investigated and variously demonstrated in work spanning several published experimental studies and deployed systems. In this paper we provide an overview of automated disease surveillance efforts based on the social web characterized by their different high level design choices regarding functional aspects like user participation and language parsing approaches. We briefly discuss the technical rationale and practical implications of these different choices in addition to the key limitations associated with these systems within the context of operable disease surveillance. We hope this can offer some technical guidance to multi-disciplinary teams on how best to implement, interpret and evaluate disease surveillance programs based on the social web.

Full Text:



Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *