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Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015

Drivers of Emerging Infectious Disease Events as a Framework for Digital Detection

Sarah H. Olson1, Corey M. Benedum1, Sumiko R. Mekaru, Nicholas D. Preston, Jonna A.K. Mazet, Damien O. Joly2, and John S. Brownstein2Comments to Author 
Author affiliations: Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, New York, USA (S.H. Olson); University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA (S.H. Olson); Boston University School of Public Health, Boston (C.M. Benedum); Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (C.M. Benedum, S.R. Mekaru, N.D. Preston, J.S. Brownstein); University of California, Davis, California, USA (J.A.K. Mazet); Metabiota, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada (D.O. Joly); Harvard Medical School, Boston (J.S. Brownstein)

Main Article


Disease drivers identified in the literature and examples of data availability*

Driver theme (references) Global data examples† Regional data examples†
Human susceptibility to infection (1,2,4)
Vaccine rumor surveillance, product distribution data from manufacturers, self-reported immunization status
US influenza vaccination rates, measles vaccination rates from the Mozambique Health Information System
Climate and weather (1,2,4)
Numerous satellite products, National Oceanic and Atmospheric; Administration, Climatic Research Unit, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, vulnerability to climate change
Climate data, social media reports of climate and air pollution effects on Twitter and Sina Weibo
Human demographics and behavior (1,2,4)
Night time lights, Gridded population of the world, mobile phone operator data
National census data products, Twitter, world population
Economic development (1,2,4)
International Monetary Fund, World Bank
National departments of economics
Land use and ecosystem changes (1,2,4)
Global agricultural lands, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Global Forest Change 2000–2012, Global Forest Watch, global livestock distribution densities
National departments of agriculture, croplands in western Africa, Africa mining digital news reports, IMAZON Deforestation Alert System
Technology and industry (1,2,4)
Digital news, United Nations Global Pulse
Human wildlife interaction (2,4)
Species distribution grids, digital news reports
State-level hunting data
Breakdown of public health measures (1,2,4)
Natural disaster hotspots
News of impending natural disasters (i.e., predicted hurricane landfall)
Poverty and social inequality (1)
Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Global Observatory
National census data
War and famine (1,2,4)
Famine early warning system, digital news and social media
Syria Tracker
Lack of political will (1)
Historical records, Transparency International, Cline Center for Democracy
International travel and commerce (1,2,4) Flight and shipping data Regional distribution data of food products

*The table is purposely not exhaustive but provides a survey of types of available digital data that are associated with different drivers. NA, not applicable.
†See Technical Appendix Table for available references.

Main Article

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Main Article

1These first authors contributed equally to this article.

2These authors were co-senior authors of this article.

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