Posts Tagged ‘pandemic flu


Swine Flu Readiness 101


I appeared live on WJZ Channel 13 News April 28, 2009, to discuss the threat of pandemic flu and how families and communities can prepare themselves. We all know the basics, but here are a few simple tips to prepare yourself and your community:

– first – don’t panic

– wash hands often with either soap and water or with an alcohol based hand sanitizer

– keep about a week’s supply of food and water in the house

– if you do feel sick, do not go to work or to public places where you may infect others

– become familiar with ways that you could care for your relatives or others in your community should they become ill

– get involved with your community’s volunteer health agencies now so that you can be prepared to assist in the event of a more serious outbreak

– stay as healthy as possible with a balanced diet and regular exercise

– if the situation worsens, be prepared to follow instructions from local public health officials.



Google flu trends: Web searches as pandemic sensors

COMPUTER SCIENCE PROFESSOR TIM FININ, an expert on deep data-mining of the Web and social networks, blogs at UMBC ebiquity about the swine flu outbreak and how Web searches can predict pandemic patterns ahead of an outbreak:

Google has had a special “flu trends” site up for many months that provides “up-to-date estimates of flu activity in the United States based on aggregated search queries.”

They have found that how many people search for flu-related topics is a leading indicator for reports on how many people actually have flu symptoms. They believe that this metric “may indicate flu activity up to two weeks ahead of traditional flu surveillance systems”….

So, is Google magic? The explanation for why changes in in the level of flu searches precedes changes in the level of flu symptoms is more mundane.

“So why bother with estimates from aggregated search queries? It turns out that traditional flu surveillance systems take 1-2 weeks to collect and release surveillance data, but Google search queries can be automatically counted very quickly. By making our flu estimates available each day, Google Flu Trends may provide an early-warning system for outbreaks of influenza.


UMBC’s Faculty Experts Vlog


Latest TalkingHeads on Twitter