The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) New Public Health Blog has an interesting post of the use of social media reports of flu-like symptoms to aid in tracking the incidence of the disease. If you want to get in on the reporting, go to flunearyou.org and you will receive a weekly symptoms report email. The data will be used to aid CDC tracking of flu. Symptom reports are mapped, at both macro levels as below, or for smaller areas, including zip code.
For example, 3 people from Durham have reported into this system this week, one with no symptoms, one with some and one with severe symptoms. This RWJF blog has previously reported on researchers from Johns Hopkins using twitter to analyze symptom reports to help estimate flu incidence, among other health conditions. This is something to watch (and participate in; I signed up to be a symptom reporter).