Monday, October 12, 2009

Flu Trends

Google is at it again - aggregating and brilliantly harnessing search queries related to the flu from millions of users in a region and accurately tracking (compared to Center for Disease Control numbers that come in 2 weeks later) real time changes in flu levels (How it works). This data is published on Flu Trends.

We are in the midst of a abnormal spike in the United States. You can drill down by state, and things aren't looking good for Oregon. In fact, Oregon looks like it is in the worst shape.

What's more interesting is that most countries being tracked are largely keeping to average trends. One anomolie was a massive spike in Scandinavia (Norway/Sweden) through September, but are now back to normal levels. Australia is the only nation being track that is actually keeping below their seasonal trend for the last 5 years.

Google never ceases to amaze me in how they are harnessing data to provide tools that were never imagined possible.

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