Today, Google has launched Dengue Trends and hopes it will serve as a useful additional surveillance tool for dengue. Google Dengue Trends provides estimates of dengue activity near-real time based on aggregated, dengue-related searches in Bolivia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and Singapore.
Tracking Dengue Activity in Singapore with Google Dengue Trends
Free online surveillance tool provides estimates of dengue activity in near-real-time based on search trends
Singapore, May 31, 2011 – Today Google announced that Google Dengue Trends, a surveillance tool for the tropical disease caused by the dengue virus, has been launched in 38 languages and 5 countries, including Singapore. Google Dengue Trends provides near real-time estimates of dengue activity by tracking the popularity of certain Google search queries, helping the public and health officials prepare for potential dengue outbreaks. It can be accessed at http://www.google.org/denguetrends/sg/#SG
Dengue is a virus spread through mosquito bites that creates symptoms including high fever, severe headache, rash and mild bleeding. It affects over 100 million people around the world every year. In Singapore, the number of dengue cases in the first four months of this year was 1,208. There is no vaccine or treatment, so public health efforts are largely focused on helping people take steps to prevent being infected with the disease.
It usually takes some time for dengue cases to be collected, analyzed and made available to the public via the health channels of various institutions. With Google Dengue Trends, Singaporeans can go online at any time to track current dengue activity in Singapore. Since Google Dengue Trends is updated every day, it provides an early indicator of activity even before any official announcement is made.
Google Dengue Trends uses the same methodology as Google Flu Trends, another surveillance tool that uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity around the world. Each week, millions of users around the world search for health information online, and Google has found a close relationship between how many people search for dengue-related topics and how many people actually have dengue symptoms using official dengue estimates. Even if not every person who searches for “dengue” is actually sick, a pattern emerges when all the dengue-related search queries are added together. Using the dengue case count data provided by Ministries of Health and the World Health Organization, Google was able to build a model that offers near real-time estimates of dengue activity based on the popularity of dengue-related search terms. The methodology for this system is outlined in a newly published article in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Google Dengue Trends is also available in Bolivia, Brazil, India and Indonesia.
About Google Inc.
Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. For more information, please visit www.google.com.sg.