Notes from the Field: Social media helps to stop an outbreak
Apparently the BIO230 blog is truly a force for good! According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, investigations into the current outbreak of Cyclospora have been greatly helped by rapid reporting of cases via social media avenues. In Iowa, the state public health lab began testing potential patient isolates for the parasite following an electronic health alert on June 28th. The rapid spread of medical information using electronic avenues has significantly improved diagnosis and treatment during this outbreak. The CDC notes that increased awareness of Cyclospora has been useful in this outbreak, as outbreaks due to this organism are not common in the US, and would not generally be considered as part of a differential diagnosis with patients. From an epidemiological standpoint, the increased number of recognized cases means that identifying the source and scope of the outbreak becomes easier.