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Healthc Inform Res. 2017 Oct;23(4):343-348. English. Case Report.
Seo DW , Shin SY .
Department of Emergency Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Korea.


For earlier detection of infectious disease outbreaks, a digital syndromic surveillance system based on search queries or social media should be utilized. By using real-time data sources, a digital syndromic surveillance system can overcome the limitation of time-delay in traditional surveillance systems. Here, we introduce an approach to develop such a digital surveillance system.


We first explain how the statistics data of infectious diseases, such as influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Korea, can be collected for reference data. Then we also explain how search engine queries can be retrieved from Google Trends. Finally, we describe the implementation of the prediction model using lagged correlation, which can be calculated by the statistical packages, i.e., SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).


Lag correlation analyses demonstrated that search engine data/Twitter have a significant temporal relationship with influenza and MERS data. Therefore, the proposed digital surveillance system can be used to predict infectious disease outbreaks earlier.


This prediction method could be the core engine for implementing a (near-) real-time digital surveillance system. A digital surveillance system that uses Internet resources has enormous potential to monitor disease outbreaks in the early phase.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.