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Vomit tweeting helps researchers track bug

AAP logoAAP 16/12/2016

Vomit tweeting - tweeting while projectile vomiting - could help researchers track the spread of the nauseating winter bug.

The UK Food Standards Agency has been using social media to follow norovirus, a highly contagious gastroenteritis which is easily spread from person-to person and causes vomiting and diarrhoea, the BBC reports.

The agency analysed Google searches in 2013 but found social media site Twitter to be a more fruitful source of data.

"It's more about the immediacy... what's happening in their lives right now," Dr Sian Thomas said according to the BBC.

Based on the social media data, the FSA concluded that between 70-80 per cent of the time, they could accurately predict an increase the next week.

The model used searches for tweets containing words that are relative to the virus or its symptoms but excludes tweets which reference pregnancy, anxiety and alcohol-related phrases, the BBC reports.

The ability to track the masses of tweets about the virus allows the FSA to intervene before a national outbreak.

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