New York DOH uncovered 10 cases of foodborne illnesses using Yelp

The New York State Department of Health said Jan. 10 it has identified 10 outbreaks of foodborne illnesses since 2012 solely through the use of a computer system that tracks illnesses reported in online Yelp reviews.

The computer system, part of a collaboration between the NYDOH and New York City-based Columbia University's computer science department, tracks foodborne illnesses based on select keywords that appear in online Yelp reviews.

The DOH has identified approximately 8,523 complaints of foodborne illnesses in the area since implementing the system in July 2012.

The DOH and Columbia University have continued to expand the system to include additional social media sources like Twitter, which was added to the system in November 2016.  

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