Apparently, the Center for Disease Control is a little behind when it comes to announcing where flu outbreaks are and how serious they are. About two weeks behind, which means you'll probably have had the flu and recovered from it by the time you find out that it was indeed prevalent in your area!
Now Google, using a system called Flu Trends, is using real-time techniques to tell you today, what kind of flu is in your state - today. How? Their research has shown that the amount of internet searches and queries into the flu correlates very closely to the resulting numbers given by the CDC about two weeks later. The difference is that the search engine company gives the results instantly.
The flu causes about 36,000 premature deaths in the United States every year. The folks at Google hope that doctors and hospitals will look at Flu Trends results and act quickly, as opposed to waiting for the CDC's data which depends on reports hospital and doctors offices from around the country. Reporting is not always immediate.
For more information, click here : http://www.google.org/flutrends/
Would you trust these results? Will you use the flu tracker? Do you think it'll make a difference in the deaths that result annually from the flu?
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