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Mobile phone data highlights the role of mass gatherings in the spreading of cholera outbreaks

Big data and, in particular, mobile phone data are expected to revolutionize epidemiology, yet their full potential is still untapped. Here, we take a significant step forward by developing an epidemiological model that accounts for the spatiotemporal patterns of human mobility derived by directly tracking properly anonymized mobile phone users. Such data allow us to investigate, with an unprecedented level of detail, the effect that mass gatherings can have on the spreading of waterborne diseases like cholera. Identifying and understanding transmission hotspots opens the way to the implementation of novel disease control strategies.