Hawaii is the US Hotspot for the Flu

With the world on swine flu watch, a number of online maps are tracking the spread of the disease. The Google Maps Mania blog rounds up some of the best and most creative efforts.

One of the earliest is this user-generated Google map by “Niman”, which plots suspected,  confirmed or probable, and negative incidences (click image below to see full-screen, real-time version).

Niman\'s N1H1 Google map (grab taken 28 April)

This HealthMap displays the latest information on its swine flu map with markers co-ordinated according to the “heat” – encompassing recentness and size – of the outbreak.

The map pulls in information from a number of sources, including news reports and official alerts, and therefore markers may not necessarily represent a confirmed outbreak – worth clicking through the links before you panic.  See also the general HealthMap for info on swine flu plus a variety of other diseases.

Google also maps flu trends in the USA – based on where people are searching for flu-related terms. The reasoning goes that, if people feel ill, they tend to head for the internet for advice.

The search company reckons its data both corresponds with official tracking methods, and can scoop them by a fortnight, as it updates more quickly. At time of writing, Google trends suggests tropical Hawaii is the US-flu hotspot – something which has yet to translate into a rash of swine flu cases. The official Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website has official data on US swine flu cases – worth reading in conjunction with user-generated content for the most rounded picture.

2 Responses

  1. um…. maybe they’re searching about the flu because swine flu is all over the news… not because they actually have the regular flu?

  2. Thank you for all these info and for the helpful links. I will check them out.

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