Flu Surveillance

No system of mass surveillance has existed in any society that we know of to this point that has not been abused - Edward Snowden

Flu Surveillance
Flu Surveillance

image by: Pierre-Alain Dorange

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When Google tried to predict the flu

In late 2008, a team of engineers at Google post to their company blog about a correlation between search queries and CDC flu surveillance data.

Soon after, they write a journal paper and launch “Google Flu Trends” (GFT). Media outlets jump on the story:

Fast forward to February 2013, an article titled “When Google Got Flu Wrong” appears in the same publication that they had first submitted their findings to. The article points out that GFT had been predicting almost double what the CDC was reporting over the previous flu season.

Before long, Forbes, Wired Magazine,the Huffington Post and others are writing articles about how Google “failed” at predicting the…

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 When Google tried to predict the flu

GFT provided a learning opportunity for all of us. Both enterprise and academia were exposed to a real world case study of the value that Big Data could add in supplementing traditional methods of analysis whilst also providing an opportunity for understanding some of its pitfalls.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

During the influenza transmission season ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe jointly reports on the influenza situation in the wider European region which covers the 53 countries of the WHO European Region (including the EU/EEA Member States).


Information in this report is categorized by influenza transmission zones, which are geographical groups of countries, areas or territories with similar influenza transmission patterns.

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