Sensor-based epidemiology

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Winter and the holidays mean increased colds, flus and other ‘bugs’ spreading from contact. But what contact? Stanford University researchers recently published a study tracking everyone in one (unnamed) American high school for one day at the height of the H1N1 flu scare last January, with each person given a credit card-size two-way sensor that signaled every 20 seconds. Over 760,000 incidents were logged when two people were within 10 feet of each other–the maximum distance of a cough or sneeze. With this data, they ran simulated ‘outbreaks’ with the main finding that inoculations don’t matter as much as how people are interacting with each other and for how long. Is this the reverse of telecare? Stanford University News.  PNAS abstract.