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Lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2008 - 16:16 GMT
Google tras la pista de la gripe
Google
Google considera que esta nueva herramienta podría ayudar a rastrear la distribución de la influenza.

Google tracks flu

The internet search engine company Google has launched a new online tool to help track the spread of influenza in the United States. The company found that Americans falling ill searched for advice about flu online using its web facilities before they sought help from a doctor.

Greg Morsbach reports:

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How many times have you consulted an internet search engine when you're feeling ill before going to your doctor for help? Many of us do exactly that when we're feeling sick.

Now the internet search engine Google has come up with a tool designed to register search requests for common phrases such as "flu symptoms" or "muscle aches".

The idea is to map clusters of influenza in the United States in order to track the spread of the disease. There are also plans to roll out the system in other countries around the world.

The new web tracker known as "Google Flu Trends" could act as an early warning system for internet users: if there are a lot of flu cases in your area, then you could take preventative measures such as have a flu jab. Early tests of the new web tool show it can detect regional outbreaks up to ten days earlier than the US health authorities.

A senior health expert from the United Nations told the BBC, Google Flu Trends would have to prove its reliability over time. But he added it could be very useful in nations where health authorities don't have a reliable database of infectious diseases.

Oana Lungescu, BBC News, Brussels

 Listen to the words

consulted
consultado

to register search requests
registrar las solicitudes de búsqueda

symptoms
Síntomas

muscle aches
dolores musculares

to map clusters
trazar un mapa de los grupos

to track the spread of the disease
seguir la pista de la propagación de la enfermedad

roll out
desplegar

an early warning system
un sistema de alerta temprana

take preventative measures
tomar medidas preventivas

a reliable database of infectious diseases
una base de datos fidedigna de enfermedades contagiosas



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