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A Smartphone-Driven Thermometer Application for Real-Time Population- and Individual-Level Influenza Surveillance

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  • A Smartphone-Driven Thermometer Application for Real-Time Population- and Individual-Level Influenza Surveillance

    Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Feb 8. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy073. [Epub ahead of print]
    A Smartphone-Driven Thermometer Application for Real-Time Population- and Individual-Level Influenza Surveillance.

    Miller AC1, Singh I2, Koehler E2, Polgreen PM3.
    Author information

    Abstract

    Background:

    Smartphone-based sensors may enable real-time surveillance of infectious diseases at population and household levels. This study evaluates the use of data from commercially available 'smart thermometers,' connected to a mobile phone application, for the surveillance of influenza-like illness (ILI).
    Methods:

    At a population level, we analyze the correlation between thermometer recordings (total readings and fevers) and CDC-reported ILI activity nationally and by age group and region. We develop time-series models to forecast ILI activity in real-time and up to three weeks in advance. At an individual level, we analyze the ability of thermometer readings to track the duration of fevers and identify biphasic fever patterns. We also investigate potential transmission of febrile illness within households among device users.
    Results:

    Thermometer readings are highly correlated with national ILI activity (r>0.95) and activity patterns across regions and age groups. Thermometer readings also significantly improve forecasts of ILI activity in real-time and up to three weeks in advance. In-household results find that fevers lasting between 3-6 days and bi-phasic fever episodes occur more frequently during the influenza season. In addition, potential cases of in-household transmission of febrile illness originate more frequently from children than adults.
    Conclusions:

    Smart thermometers represent a novel source of information for influenza surveillance and forecasting. Not only do thermometer readings capture real-time ILI activity at a population level, they can also be used to generate improved forecasts. Moreover, the widespread deployment of these smart thermometers may also allow for more rapid and efficient surveillance at the household level.


    KEYWORDS:

    influenza; seasonality; smartphone; surveillance; thermometer

    PMID: 29432526 DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciy073
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