On-line Activities Indicate Increasing Flu Trend.

Swedish bloggers and tweeters are increasingly chattering about seasonal influenza (also covered in an earlier blog post). The trend of the flu signals captured by the Ethersource barometer is clearly on the rise. This should come as no surprise since we are, in fact, looking at the seasonal flu. The interesting thing here is how well the barometer reflects what is reported by the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI) in their weekly reports. Those reports are based on input from sentinels and laboratories, and by necessity, they lag behind in time: the current report is for the period of February 6 – 13, which is a week old by now.

Of the approximately 80 000 social media posts that matched our criteria for being included in the barometer on a given day in the period depicted in the image below, only a small fraction concern the flu. The flu isn’t contagious via the web, but information is. Keep your eyes open, and report symptoms to influenzanet to allow scientists to better stay on top of the flu spreading throughout Sweden.

Meanwhile, as we keep our eyes open for the spring sun, we’ll make sure to monitor the flu barometer and take note of any declining trends. We’ll keep you posted.

People active in Swedish social media are increasingly concerned about the seasonal influenza. The image shows a seven day moving average for the past two months of the influenza signal. The annotations in the graph is the Ethersource anomaly detection algorithms at work: each flag indicate a point in time where the change in trend warranted our attention.

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