Most foodborne illnesses are associated with acute gastroenteritis (defined
as diarrhea and vomiting) (Lucado et al., 2013), but affected individuals can also experience abdominal cramps, fever and bloody stool (Daniels et al., 2002 and McCabe-Sellers and Beattie, 2004). Although there are several surveillance systems for foodborne illnesses at the local, state and territorial levels, these systems capture only a fraction of the foodborne illness burden in the United States mainly due to few affected individuals seeking medical care and lack of reporting to appropriate authorities (McCabe-Sellers and Beattie, 2004). One way to improve surveillance JNK inhibitor of foodborne illnesses is to utilize nontraditional approaches to disease surveillance (Brownstein et al., 2009). Nontraditional approaches have been proposed to supplement traditional systems for monitoring infectious diseases such as influenza (Aramaki et al., 2011 and Yuan et al., 2013) and dengue (Chan et al., 2011). Examples of nontraditional data sources for disease surveillance include social media, online reports and micro-blogs (such as Twitter) (Aramaki et al., 2011, Chan et al., 2011, Madoff, 2004 and Yuan et al., 2013). These approaches have been recently examined for monitoring reports of food poisoning and disease outbreaks (Brownstein et al., 2009 and Wilson
and Brownstein, 2009). BGJ398 cell line However, only one recent study by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in collaboration with researchers at Columbia University (Harrison et al., 2014) has examined foodservice review sites as a potential tool for monitoring foodborne disease outbreaks. Online reviews of foodservice businesses offer a unique resource for disease surveillance. Similar to notification or complaint systems, reports of
foodborne illness on review sites could serve as early indicators of foodborne Farnesyltransferase disease outbreaks and spur investigation by proper authorities. If successful, information gleaned from such novel data streams could aid traditional surveillance systems in near real-time monitoring of foodborne related illnesses. The aim of this study is to assess whether crowdsourcing via foodservice reviews can be used as a surveillance tool with the potential to support efforts by local public health departments. Our first aim is to summarize key features of the review dataset from Yelp.com. We study reviewer–restaurant networks to identify and eliminate reviewers whose extensive reviewing might have a strong impact on the data. Furthermore, we identify and further investigate report clusters (greater than two reports in the same year). Our second aim is to compare foods implicated in outbreaks reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foodborne Outbreak Online Database (FOOD) to those reported on Yelp.com.