CDC Turns to GOOGLE, Socials to Predict Syphilis Outbreaks…

CDC Turns to GOOGLE, Socials to Predict Syphilis Outbreaks…

(Link): Artificial intelligence used to predict STDs

 By Laura Kelly – The Washington Times – Monday, April 9, 2018
Syphilis has made a comeback in the U.S., and health researchers are using Google searches and tweets in an effort to predict the next outbreak.

After decades of steady decline, infection rates for the sexually transmitted disease started to rise after hitting a historic low in 2000 — from 2.2 cases per 100,000 people to 8.7 cases per 100,000 in 2015 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles working with the CDC have developed an artificial intelligence program that can identify with high accuracy where and when a syphilis outbreak is likely to occur based on Google search terms and social media comments related to risky sexual behavior.

Lead researcher Sean Young, executive director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology, said the technology will allow public health officials to respond immediately to crises and eliminate a lag time of up to five years between an outbreak and its detection.

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