SOMO – Social Media Disease Outbreak Surveillance

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on email

Large disease outbreaks are becoming more and more frequent, and the need for better surveillance systems that are able to detect epidemics as early as possible has become of paramount importance.

Social media presents an opportunity to enhance epidemic detection and control. Health intelligence consists of automatic monitoring of social media posts by time, place and topic, with the aim of detecting public health threats before traditional systems would.

When key words like “fever”, “infection” or even specific disease names such as “dengue”, start being used more frequently in social media interactions, it can be indicative of an epidemic outbreak before it is officially identified. Social media-based surveillance is not a replacement for traditional surveillance, but an enhancement that significantly improves our capacity to detect outbreaks early.

The vast quantity of multi-lingual data available from social media platforms, requires super-computing power and advanced machine learning methods to filter out background noises reliably. Algorithms designed to pick up the word “fever”, for instance, may detect false positives. Even with these advanced tools at our disposal, thoughtful human analysis and expert interpretation of the data is needed. A multi-language team of specialists analyzes our system data daily to identify significant patterns and warn of impending threats.

Why is this relevant?
Epidemics can rapidly spiral out of control with exponential rises in cases. While traditional methods of detection rely predominantly on hierarchical and bureaucratic lines of communication, these often fail to yield timely and accurate epidemiological responses, costing lives, causing disabilities and significant economic losses.

How does this program help?
Early insights into the emergence and spread of infectious diseases is essential to promptly and effectively organize a public health response.

Through this rapid detection system we are enabling governments, NGOs and healthcare systems to be better prepared to deal with disruptive events, detect emerging events fast and warn about potential pandemics much earlier while gauging their severity and extent more accurately.


The SOMO system scans for 50 diseases and symptoms in a 110 languages, and processes hundreds of thousands of social media posts  every day.


Jess Cambré
Joshua Bloom

We cannot do this without your help

Or NGO does not depend on government sponsorship and is completely independent. For achieving these goals we depend on your contribution. Only together we can make this work.

Support the WoIDMo from as little as 1 usd or euro.
It only takes a minute but makes a world of difference. Thank you.

Discover our other programs

Follow us

For accurate information and news about coronavirus and other outbreaks.
No misleading content, no politics, no paid adverts, just science.