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Disease-control experts using Google to monitor spread of flu

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  • Disease-control experts using Google to monitor spread of flu

    Disease-control experts using Google to monitor spread of flu

    Canwest News Service
    November 15, 2009 9:02 PM

    VANCOUVER ? Disease-control experts are watching Google to see how H1N1 flu is spreading, hoping it will allow them to follow infection rates in close to real time.

    The theory is, follow the search numbers and you also follow the disease.

    The page aggregates the flu-related search data and tracks the disease?s activity around the world.

    Graphs demonstrate that the Google flu-query counts match almost exactly the traditional surveillance reports of the disease worldwide.

    Canada measures at ?intense,? the highest level, but shows a sharp drop in the last week.

    ?It?s really interesting,? said Roy Wadia of the BC Centre for Disease Control. ?The tool that is on the website shows you that there is a downturn.?

    Wadia said some mathematical models do predict a slowdown, but he remains cautious about forecasts.

    ?It may be flattening,? said Wadia, ?but flu is unpredictable.?

    While some groups are still waiting to receive their H1N1 vaccine shots it appears some doses are actually being thrown out.

    The vaccine has a 24-hour shelf life once it?s drawn into a syringe.

    But health authorities can?t always predict how many doses are needed at each community clinic because of fluctuating demand.

    So an estimated one per cent of doses have had to be thrown out.

    In Nova Scotia the Capital Health District has had to discard about 80 doses.

    For larger districts such as Toronto it was closer to 500 doses.

    Health officials say they are trying to keep waste to a minimum.
    Vancouver Sun and Global News
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

  • #2
    Re: Disease-control experts using Google to monitor spread of flu

    Sorry, but this is a totally demented vancouversun report, which is not very credible.

    In individual cases can fit it a little bit.

    I looked often into this google trends as analsyst.
    No use outside of the media data!

    A simple test: