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"July 8, 2008 (Computerworld) While recent outbreaks of salmonella in the U.S. have made headlines, an automated real-time system that scours the Web for information about disease outbreaks spied early reports in New Mexico about suspicious gastrointestinal illnesses days before the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an official report on the problem.
The system, called HealthMap, is a free data-mining tool that extracts, categorizes, filters and links 20,000 Web-based data sources such as news sites, blogs, e-mail lists and chat rooms to monitor emerging public health issues. HealthMap, which is profiled in the July issue of the journal Public Library of Science Medicine and is open to anyone, was developed in late 2006 by John Brownstein and Clark Freifeld. Both men work in the informatics program at Children's Hospital Boston."
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