Want to spot an outbreak before your friends? Look at this map

Reports of avian influenza from the past month via the website HealthMap. Photo by HealthMap.

HealthMap is like the Reddit of emerging infectious disease. Created by researchers, epidemiologists and computer scientists at Boston Children's Hospital in 2006, HealthMap combs online postings from around the globe to locate disease outbreaks in real-time.

PBS NewsHour correspondent Miles O'Brien paid a visit to HealthMap's headquarters in Boston and chatted with its co-founder, John Brownstein. This digital map can't spell out the exact number of cases happening in an area or the precise city streets to avoid if you're worried about getting sick, but it does spot the newest outbreaks with quick precision. For instance, HealthMap caught a tip about last year's Ebola outbreak nine days before the World Health Organization made their first public statement about the eventual epidemic. Public health experts at HealthMap also scan the data to create solutions for the social disruption caused by an outbreaks.

https://youtu.be/kKEP32d-_I8

You can also watch NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan's conversation with John Brownstein from August 2014 here.

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