For the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases , researchers recorded and reviewed Google Flu Trends data for the city of Baltimore, along with data on people who have used pediatric and emergency services at Johns Hopkins Hospital since January. from 2009 to October 2010. In this way, they identified a strong correlation between an increase in searches for information about influenza on the Internet and a subsequent increase in patients attending a busy emergency room of an urban hospital with symptoms of influenza. disease.
Researchers say that traditional flu reports, made using a combination of data on hospital admissions, laboratory tests and clinical symptoms, often arrive weeks late at the hands of doctors in hospitals. And therefore, they do not provide a tool for healthcare professionals to respond quickly on a day-to-day basis, in real time , to an increase in the number of flu cases.
The Google Flu Trends app is available at www.google.org/flutrends.