Google Flu Tracker Follows Swine Flu (AH1N1) Trends In Mexico
Google Flu Trends, which earlier this year won a coveted best digital innovations Netexplorateur Award, is being put to work to follow searches in Mexico for words or terms that are flu oriented. Though Google is calling its Flu Trends Mexico "experimental," so far, the Mexico tracker is trending true to what might be expected from the swine flu, now officially called the AH1N1 flu.
Google put its Flu Trends to work in the U.S. late in 2008, after collecting and analyzing considerable data on search terms and their relationship to impending breakouts of the flu. Once the data was tested with confirming reports from various health reporting agencies, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Google Flu Trends was launched for tracking the flu in the U.S., although Google intended to create tracking systems for other countries in the future, based on research data in those countries.
Google Flu Trends in Mexico is experimental because sufficient historical data has not been collected for in that country. However, it does give some indication of what may concern persons with computer access in Mexico. In the U.S. there is about a 2 week lead time between flu-related searches (i.e., spikes on Google Flu Trend maps) and actual reports of flu by the CDC and other reporting agencies, the trends in Mexico currently show there is a spike in flu-related searches.
The Google Flu Trends for Mexico will be interesting to follow. It shows trends nationally, as well as trends by state. Past years' search trend data is mapped, but no actual report correlations are available. Also look for Google Flu Trends for other countries if the "swine flu" spreads significantly.