Informal reports from the Internet and Twitter enabled researchers to track the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti more quickly than official sources could, report US and Canadian researchers (Chunara R et al. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012;86:39-45).
After cholera spread across Haiti months after a massive earthquake in January 2010, the researchers used a public health Internet tool called HealthMap to capture references to cholera in news media and discussion groups from October 20, 2010, to January 28, 2011. The investigators also probed Twitter posts during this time to find mentions of cholera. The Haitian Ministry of Public Health tracked the epidemic using standard tools.
Friedrich MJ. Cholera and Social Media. JAMA. 2012;307(7):656. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.133