Deep Learning for Relevance Filtering in Syndromic Surveillance: A Case Study in Asthma/Difficulty Breathing

Oduwa Edo-Osagie (Lead Author), Beatriz De La Iglesia, Iain Lake, Obaghe Edeghere

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper, we investigate deep learning methods that may extract some word context for Twitter mining for syndromic surveillance. Most of the work on syndromic surveillance has been done on the flu or Influenza- Like Illnesses (ILIs). For this reason, we decided to look at a different but equally important syndrome, asthma/difficulty breathing, as this is quite topical given global concerns about the impact of air pollution. We also compare deep learning algorithms for the purpose of filtering Tweets relevant to our syndrome of interest, asthma/difficulty breathing. We make our comparisons using different variants of the F-measure as our evaluation metric because they allow us to emphasise recall over precision, which is important in the context of syndromic surveillance so that we do not lose relevant Tweets in the classification. We then apply our relevance filtering systems based on deep learning algorithms, to the task of syndromic surveillance and compare the results with real-world syndromic surveillance data provided by Public Health England (PHE).We find that the RNN performs best at relevance filtering but can also be slower than other architectures which is important for consideration in real-time application. We also found that the correlation between Twitter and the real-world asthma syndromic surveillance data was positive and improved with the use of the deep- learning-powered relevance filtering. Finally, the deep learning methods enabled us to gather context and word similarity information which we can use to fine tune the vocabulary we employ to extract relevant Tweets in the first place.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Conference on Pattern Recognition Applications and Methods 2019 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 19 Feb 201921 Feb 2019
Conference number: 8


ConferenceInternational Conference on Pattern Recognition Applications and Methods 2019
Abbreviated titleICPRAM
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address


  • Syndromic Surveillance
  • Machine Learning
  • Text Classification
  • Tweet Classification
  • Deep Learning

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