Google Flu trends

In year 2008 Goole published flu trends. This is an exercise where Google matched influenza related search terms with data from traditional influenza tracking services. As a result they noticed that there is a very strong correlation between influenza related searches and actual spreading of influenza. They have this set up now for few countries.

Finland not included, how about social media data?

The service is not available in all countries, one fo these is Finland. However Futusome has the majority of Finnish social media discussion. So they thought could there be a correlation between dicussions in finnish social media and the existance of influenza in Finland?

Inspired by Google Futusome went through their data for flu related discussions about flu symptoms and possible cures. From these keywords they made a ‘influenza signal’ that shows how much there is discussion about this ailment and it’s cure. In Finland statistical data about influenza is published by the national institute for health and welfare, which is a goverment organization. Futusome combined goverment data to their own to see whether there was similar correlation as in google’s flu trends.

The result? Very strong correltion. Not only seasonal flu was clearly shown, also non-common influenza outbreaks are clearly visible. For example the swine-flu outbreak in 2009 shows very clearly. From the graphs you can spot when the seasonal flu is about to start

Doing this is difficult? No it isn’t. Since data is gathered in real time, the ‘flu-signal’ updates in realtime. This is true with any of the resutls drawn from Futusomes data. Once the KPI or signal is put to production is updated as the data below updates.

So when you see the ‘flu-signal’ rise, it is time to take the necessary precautions against coming flu outbreak headed your way.

This case was presented in Futusomes’s website (case in finnish).

flu trends using futusome social media data.