Researchers Use Wikipedia Page Views To Track Seasonal Flu Activity

May 20, 2015 in News

Data on Wikipedia page views could enable researchers to track seasonal influenza activity, according to a study published last week in Public Library of Science, FWC reports.

Details of Study

For the study, researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory created a weekly forecast for seasonal flu. They examined data during the 2013-2014 flu season from:

  • CDC influenza-like illness, or ILI, reports; and
  • Wikipedia article access logs.

Study Findings

The researchers found that Wikipedia article access logs were highly correlated with ILI records, suggesting that ILI rates can be predicted with accuracy weeks prior to data becoming available.

Ahead of flu season’s peak, the researchers found that the method had a high probability of projecting actual outcome.

While the researchers used flu data for the 2013-2014 season, they said their methods were standard enough to be applied to any disease outbreak, when provided with incidence or case count data (Rockwell, FCW, 5/18).

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