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Emergency department and ‘Google flu trends’ data as syndromic surveillance indicators for seasonal influenza

  • L. H. THOMPSON (a1), M. T. MALIK (a1) (a2) (a3), A. GUMEL (a2), T. STROME (a4) (a5) and S. M. MAHMUD (a1) (a5)...
Summary

We evaluated syndromic indicators of influenza disease activity developed using emergency department (ED) data – total ED visits attributed to influenza-like illness (ILI) (‘ED ILI volume’) and percentage of visits attributed to ILI (‘ED ILI percent’) – and Google flu trends (GFT) data (ILI cases/100 000 physician visits). Congruity and correlation among these indicators and between these indicators and weekly count of laboratory-confirmed influenza in Manitoba was assessed graphically using linear regression models. Both ED and GFT data performed well as syndromic indicators of influenza activity, and were highly correlated with each other in real time. The strongest correlations between virological data and ED ILI volume and ED ILI percent, respectively, were 0·77 and 0·71. The strongest correlation of GFT was 0·74. Seasonal influenza activity may be effectively monitored using ED and GFT data.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
* Address for correspondence: Dr S. M. Mahmud, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, S111 – 750, Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3E 0W3. (Email: salah.mahmud@gmail.com)
References
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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