Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Flu tracking project

You have probably heard of the Google Flu Trends project (, which aims to track flu epidemics in the USA by analysing search engine queries. (BTW, I wonder how accurately it would work, if at all, in the UK, for localising data, as my broadband Internet connection seems to bounce around most of northern England)

Our colleague Chris Paton reports on a similar project (in terms of the health issue addressed) called the Influenza Tracking Project. This aims to decrease the time lag in data/symptom reporting (similar to Google Flu Trends) and so potentially result in a more rapid preventative response to flu outbreaks. The project would do this by using social networks to facilitate the distribution of an online influenza questionnaire, and is based in earlier European work using questionnaires.

More information is on the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI - New Zealand) website (>>>) , which also gives contact details for Chen Luo, the medical student working on the project.

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