Google flu trends for Mexico

April 30th, 2009

Google has produced a special Mexico Flu Trends page to aggregate flu-related search queries from users in Mexico and various states within Mexico.

“We’ve created experimental estimates of flu activity in Mexico using aggregated search data. Unlike Google Flu Trends for U.S., this data has not been validated against confirmed cases of flu. After conferring with US and Mexican health officials, we’ve decided to share these initial results to provide additional information on the evolving epidemic.”

An article in the New York Times, To Aid Mexico, Google Expands Flu Tracking, quotes one expert on the limitations of the Google data

Dr. Henry L. Niman, a biochemist in Pittsburgh who runs Recombinomics, a Web site that tracks the genetics of flu cases worldwide, said that Google’s service appeared to provide only limited advance warning. “I am not saying that it is not useful. It probably works to complement other sources of surveillance and data,” he said.