The first such comparison generated quite a bit of Internet traffic. Record-breaking for this blog, in fact, from multiple countries around the world.
Here again we perform a simple comparison between information produced and made available to the public by the Black Canyon Infectious Disease Forecasting Station (#1) and the combined output of Google's Flu Trends, ProMED, and SickWeather. Screenshots from these websites were taken at approximately 2130 on 19 Feb 2012.
Black Canyon Infectious Disease Forecasting Station.
As previously noted, we forecasted in December a surge in patient volume and clinical severity due to a variety of viral respiratory pathogens, notably RSV, for our specific location in the US: Delta County, Colorado, which is near Grand Junction (geographic coordinate Lat/Long: 38° 44' 43.4394", -108° 2' 49.1994").
We indeed did see this, along with the forecast-facilitated detection of unusually severe, high volume RSV disease related to coinfection with other pathogens. Here in Colorado, this has produce pediatric infrastructure strain at a grid level, meaning near-diversion status for several PICUs along the Front Range (our referral loci). We were warned that beds may not be available the next time we needed to execute a transfer...
The entire staff complement of our office was infected, yet again, but no one took time off. Much misery among staff working very long hours, with physicians pulling 48 hr call that afforded little sleep.
Google Flu Trends.
Again tells us we are at "moderate" levels of influenza.
We have not documented a single positive specimen to-date in our clinic. We are aware of a clinic 20 miles east of us that documented two positive cases in their kids about ten days ago- no activity since.
Absolutely nothing on Colorado.
Thirteen (13) different symptoms selected, as shown below. One single report of "pneumonia" submitted. Nothing else. We were unable to obtain evidence of true pre-event operational forecasting in the SickWeather website.
Again, the limitations of using open source information and social media is revealed. We just experienced an unusual, non-routine infectious disease signature pattern in our county that resulted in significant medical infrastructure strain and near-diversion status at the grid level for the pediatric critical care infrastructure in our state. There is no indication of this significant level of infectious disease activity in Google's Flu Trends, ProMED, and SickWeather combined.