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Google Uses New Tool to Track Dengue Fever Hubs

BBC News (05/31/11)

Google is developing an early warning system for dengue fever outbreaks by monitoring dengue fever-related search terms by users in at-risk countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Singapore.  “Using the dengue case count data provided by the Ministries of Health and the World Health Organization, we’re able to build a model that offers near real-time estimates of dengue activity based on the popularity of certain search terms,” says Google’s Vikram Sahai.  Google is working with researchers at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School on the dengue fever project.  The project utilizes Google Correlate, a new service that connects search analysis with data collected in real life.  Google Correlate enables researchers to upload their own data sets to compare against Google searches.  “It will of course be highly selective because you’ll be picking out the people who are using Google, but of course year on year that’s an increasing proportion of the population anyway,” says Imperial College London professor Peter Sever.


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