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January 12, 2012

Internet - Comprehensive in tracking epidemics!

Everyone know very well about the most useful medium of education, information, communication or in other words the network of networks that serve billions of users worldwide. The point is monitoring the Internet may prove to be a better way for hospital authorities to prepare for epidemics, compared to waiting for outdated official reports. 
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine reported a strong correlation between a rise in Internet searches for information for flu, compiled by Google's Flu Trends tool, & a subsequent rise in people approaching the emergency room complaining of flu. Hopkins researchers tracked & reviewed Google Flu Trends data for Baltimore City, along with data on people seeking care, at the emergency departments of Johns Hopkins Hospital from January 2009 to October 2010.

Emergency medicine physician & researcher of the Johns Hopkins & senior study investigator, Richard Rothman says that the results show promise for eventually developing a standard regional or national early warning system for frontline health care workers. Rothman & lead study investigator Andrea Dugas, recently hosted a national conference in Baltimore of experts from around the country to discuss the implications of their findings. 

In the long term, says Rothman, the Johns Hopkins team hopes to develop a highly reliable flu surveillance model that all emergency departments could use to reasonably predict a spike in the number of flu-like cases. 

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