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Dengue Fever: How Google Search Helps Track Dengue

Posted By: Staff

Come monsoon and every year you would hear of increasing number of dengue cases across the country. If not taken care of on time dengue might turn fatal as well and many a times this happens due to late diagnosis. So in a bid to resolve this issue, researchers have come up with a dengue-related Google searches that provides faster alerts.

Using a mathematical model combining Google searches and clinical data, a team of researchers from the Harvard University have developed an analytical tool that would track dengue fever accurately. This would further enable faster response to any dengue outbreaks in the less-developed countries.

This researchers has come up with this tool based on a methodology previously developed by the team to track influenza in the United States. For the current study the researchers have modified ARGO (AutoRegression with Google search queries) to explore its potential to track dengue activity in Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan.

dengue fever

The research was published in the journal "PLOS Computational Biology" recently.

During the study the researchers used Google's "Trends" tool to track the top ten dengue-related search queries made by users in each country. Meanwhile, they also gathered historical dengue data from government health agencies.

Using the assumption that more dengue-related searches occur when more people are infected, ARGO calculated near real-time estimates of dengue prevalence for each country. The scientists then compared ARGO's estimates with those from five other methods. They found that ARGO returned more accurate estimates than did any other method for Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, and Singapore.

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