Google search can help track dengue in real time: study
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An analytical tool that uses Google search data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries and could enable faster response to outbreaks. This tool was used to previously track influenza in the US.
The mathematical modelling tool, known as "AutoRegression with GOogle search queries" (ARGO), revived hopes in 2015 that internet search data could help health officials track diseases after earlier systems like Google Flu Trends and Google Dengue Trends returned poor results. Harvard researchers have even modified ARGO to explore its potential to track dengue activity in Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan.
Assuming that more dengue-related searches occur when more people are infected, Googles "Trends" tool is used to track the top ten dengue-related search queries made by users in each country during the study period. They also gathered historical dengue data from government health agencies and input both datasets into ARGO which calculates near real-time estimates of dengue prevalence for each country.
This alternative way of tracking disease could be used to alert governments and hospitals when elevated dengue incidence is anticipated, and provide safety information for travellers
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