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Potential of Social Media to determine hay fever seasons and drug efficacy

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GRF 2nd One Health Summit 2013: Presentation by Ed De Quincey, University of Greenwich

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Potential of Social Media to determine hay fever seasons and drug efficacy

  1. 1. Potential of Social Media to determine hay fever seasons and drug efficacy Dr Ed de Quincey, University of Greenwich Dr Thomas Pantin, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 Photo by Maja Dumat
  2. 2. Dr Ed de Quincey @eddequincey Principal Lecturer, School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences Head of the Web 2.0/Social Web for Learning Research Group, eCentre 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 http://www2.gre.ac.uk/research/centres/ecentre/research-groups/web-2.0
  3. 3. Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis is a common allergic condition (Emberlin, 2010), defined as an Immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated inflammatory response of the nasal lining following exposure to an allergen (Bousquet et al., 2008). 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 Photo by Mislav Marohnić
  4. 4. The current UK hay fever prevalence is between 20-25% of the population, projected to rise to 39% by 2030 (Emberlin, 2010). Photo from “Hayfever hotspots: As pollen counts rise, our unique British map tells you where to avoid” 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1015294/Hayfever-hotspots-Aspollen-counts-rise-unique-British-map-reveals-avoid.html
  5. 5. Surges in incidence of allergic rhinitis in spring and summer are commonly known as the hay fever season, with the main pollens in the UK being birch pollen, March to mid May, and grass pollen, late May to August (Emberlin, 2010). 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  6. 6. The Meteorological Office (Met Office) provide weekly pollen forecasts and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) produce weekly service reports. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/ 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  7. 7. For researchers and sufferers of hay fever, there is currently no method for identifying real-time, geolocated hay fever incidence. 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 Photo by “A Guy Taking Pictures”
  8. 8. 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  9. 9. 500 million registered accounts 340 million tweets per day 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  10. 10. A promising approach in the related field of Epidemiological Intelligence to detect seasonal illnesses is the use of Social Media (de Quincey & Kostkova, 2010). By collecting incidences of users self reporting illnesses on twitter, it has been shown that outbreaks can be predicted 1-2 weeks before RCGP data indicates (Szomszor et al, 2012). 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  11. 11. 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  12. 12. “1486 following, 283 followers and 134 updates and 36 direct messages to hayfever sufferers on Twitter” http://www.figarodigital.co.uk/case-study/Kleenex.aspx 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  13. 13. 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 http://www.socialslurp.co.uk/benadryl-pollen-hotspot-goes-tits-up/
  14. 14. “hayfever” and “hay fever” 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  15. 15. Since 20th June 2012 and 2nd April 2013 130,233 tweets 88,747 distinct users 76% only posted one tweet 83.5% “Hayfever” 16.5% “Hay fever” 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  16. 16. Distribution of geolocated tweets posted June 2012 to April 2013 containing the terms “hayfever” or “hay fever”. 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  17. 17. Distribution similar to Pollen Calendars produced by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, with peaks in June/July, reductions through August/September, no pollen from October to January and then a rise in March 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  18. 18. From all tweets collected 23% contained hashtags #hayfever (6,991) #itchyeyes (326) #f@ckoff (293) #dying (266) #fml (264) 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  19. 19. Other hashtags relating to symptoms #sneeze; #cantstopsneezing; #sneezing; #achoo; #soreeyes; #puffyeyes; #sneezy; #sniff and #sniffles 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  20. 20. Self-reporting phrases “I have hayfever” (1,006) “I have hay fever” (332) “my hayfever” (6,707) “my hay fever” (1,124) 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  21. 21. 5,254 tweets related to medication were found (containing terms such as “medicine”; “tablets”; “meds”; “medication”; “pill’; “spray” and “drugs”). 437 tweets related to drug efficacy (“tablets don’t work” and “the pills don’t work”) 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 Photo by e-Magine Art
  22. 22. Only 3,924 tweets (3%) had a precise longitude and latitude. All tweets however contained an approximate location e.g. 16,365 were posted from a profile that had a location set as “London”. 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  23. 23. 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 Map Source Professor Jean Emberlin, PollenUK
  24. 24. “Thank you for sight of your map. It matches what I would expect to see, broadly fewer instances of pollen being registered in Scotland, more in the south and southeast of 2nd GRF One Health England.” SummitPeter Burt, Biometeorologist - Dr 2013
  25. 25. The higher level of granularity that twitter enables for temporal analysis means that daily peaks of hay fever incidence can be identified in real time along with potentially pinpointing more accurate start and end dates of the seasons within different parts of the UK. 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013
  26. 26. For comparison the Met Office offered to provide Daily stats from March 2011 up until May 2013 for 18 UK locations at a cost of £12,100 + Vat 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013

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