Google's Flu Tracker Shows Australia Fares Better Than Most

We can be big babies when it comes to dealing with the flu -- but that's only because we're used to being a healthy, happy bunch of people. Google's influenza tracker shows just how well Australia fares compared to some European countries and the US.

Google's Flu Trends tracks queries to determine who has the flu and where, including search topics like "flu cure". The United States and Canada are red-lining on the flu right now, which is to be expected somewhat since it's winter over there. Just look at that map! You can click through to overlay specific previous years' data or go in-depth in specific states or cities.

Australia's flu map over the past six years looks far less aggressive in comparison. Spikes typically occur between June and September, but they stay well below the "intense" level currently being experienced in North America. [Google Flu Trends]


    Like most people would be, I was skeptical when it said "flu numbers predicted by search results"; for th obvious reason that not everyone who searches "flu" will be sick; so maybe the graph only shows paranoia.
    But I visited the link and read their description of the process that they use to determine levels, and I'm convinced that the correlation is accurate. They are quite thorough, and the data is quite legitimate.

    I have some vague idea that I once heard that we get the strains of flu after the northern hemisphere. So our flu shots are better.

    So there's the strains going around, originating in the northern hemisphere which become dominant for that year before the main flu season in Australia. So when they're preparing the yearly flu shots for Australia they are in a better position to gauge what the likely strains are that we need to be protected from that year.

    This could be completely wrong, but I am sure I have read or heard this somewhere.

    Australia in general might fare better, but I sure as hell didn't last winter. Worst flu of my life, took a good two months or so to fully recover.

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