HHS Announces New Disease-Tracking Twitter Application, MappyHealth!
On September 14, 2012, the publication Government Health IT reported that HHS officials announced the release of MappyHealth, a new Web-based application tool available to public health officials. MappyHealth was the winning entry in a developers’ challenge competition, “Now Trending: #Health in My Community.” The challenge was sponsored by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Health officials can use data gained through the app to complement other health surveillance systems, to identify emerging health issues and potential public health emergencies in a community.
Currently, the top diseases being tracked by MappyHealth are the common cold, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), mosquito borne disease, pertussis, tuberculosis, influenza and gastroenteritis. The top five locations for these disease-tracking tweets are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Orlando, Chicago and Los Angeles. The availability of MappyHealth provides a mechanism for local public health departments to effectively utilize social media to monitor disease trends as they occur in real time.