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Catching Up With Flu: Using the Web as an early warning signal

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When sick people search the Web for remedies or tweet about their symptoms, they’re sending an early warning signal about disease outbreaks. Now scientists and public health officials are listening in.

NPR‘s Catching Up with Flu explores the perils, power, and benefits of networks and our interconnectedness, both physical and virtual. And though our illnesses can easily spread through these physical connections, so can our understanding of these connections through data analysis. Today, technology can help reveal disease outbreaks faster than 20th-century methods.

early data clues
File under: Epidemiology, “the study of the distribution and patterns of health-events, health-characteristics and their causes or influences in well-defined populations.”

internet searches
internet searches on a graph
The video is also great illustration of why we cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough. Watch this next: The beautiful physics and math of sneezes.

Also: How To See Germs Spread (Coronavirus) with Mark Rober.

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