HHS Launches Contest for Twitter to Identify Health Trends

HHS has announced a contest, "Now Trending - #Health in My Community," challenging Web developers to create Web-based applications that use Twitter to track health trends in real time.

Health officials may be able to use knowledge of these trends as an early indicator of emerging health issues and a warning of public health emergencies in a community.

According to HHS, the winning app will use open-source Twitter data to deliver a list of top trending illnesses over a 24-hour period in a specified geographic region. Ideally, federal agencies could then cross-reference the data with traditional biosurveillance systems to build a baseline of trends, determine emerging public health threats and advise the public on how to protect their health.

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