Google’s contribution to flu coverage

Google offers another way to look at the swine flu outbreak, using’s Flu Trends site.  They look at the correlation between the number of searches carried out in relation to flu and actual flu activity.  This appears to be pretty reliable:


They gave now done an initial rough look at the results for Mexico:

googleflusearches2For the moment this may offer a more reassuring view of the situation, although in this case may not be as reliable as usual – Google qualify their findings:

We’ve created experimental estimates of flu activity in Mexico using aggregated search data. Unlike Google Flu Trends for U.S., this data has not been validated against confirmed cases of flu. After conferring with US and Mexican health officials, we’ve decided to share these initial results to provide additional information on the evolving epidemic.

The other (more realistic?) view: WHO fears pandemic is ‘imminent’


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