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Epidemiology with Wikipedia

Los Alamos scientists are forecasting infectious disease outbreaks with improved accuracy and transferability using open-access data from Wikipedia.
May 24, 2015
Epidemiology with Wikipedia

Epidemics of important diseases like influenza, dengue, and tuberculosis can be forecast using data from Wikipedia web traffic.

Forecasting isn’t just for sunny skies and drizzly days. Los Alamos scientists are now using open-access digital data to accurately forecast flu and other important infectious diseases.

The 2014–2015 flu season has died down, and so too, for now, has traffic on Wikipedia’s flu-related articles. The reliance on Wikipedia for information, by massive numbers of people across the globe, creates what amounts to a real-time, worldwide survey of what’s on people’s minds. Now, a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Los Alamos has tapped in to this rich resource with an aim to forecast the progression of infectious disease outbreaks more precisely and more broadly than ever before. Using Wikipedia page-view data, Del Valle and her team have demonstrated the success of their forecasting model and are now expanding it into an open-access global disease forecasting system.