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Social Media Alerts Public Health Officials to Strep Outbreak

A series of Facebook posts alerted Minnesota public health officials to a 2012 outbreak of strep. The illness occurred after a Minnesota high school dance team banquet and was traced to a parent who had been recently ill with group A streptococcus pharyngitis or  more commonly known as strep throat. Of 63 people at the banquet, 18 became ill within three days. Another person who did not attend, but consumed leftovers brought home by a family member, also became ill. Several posts appeared on the organization’s Facebook page and a concerned parent ultimately contacted the state health department. Minnesota Department of Health found the possible source of the outbreak to be cooked pasta. The agency says social media played a key role in alerting public health officials, who could use it for disease surveillance and outbreak investigations. The findings are published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. (EurekAlert)(Clinical Infectious Diseases)

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