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Friday, June 22, 2018

Flu Foreasting with Smart Thermometers

We also looked at epidemic forecasting.   Note the smart 'thermometers' mentioned here are taking human temperatures.  A slight confusion when I first read this.

Smart Thermometers Improve Flu Forecasting    By Joe Dysar

Researchers at the University of Iowa (UI) have found a way to get a jump on forecasting outbreaks of influenza-like illnesses by using real-time data from smart thermometers .

"Using simple forecasting models, we showed that thermometer data could be effectively used to predict influenza levels up to two to three weeks into the future," says Aaron Miller, an assistant professor or epidemiology at UI.

Miller's team secured its study data from Kinsa Inc., a maker of smart thermometer products.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved devices plug into Android or Apple smartphones and can send anonymized fever readings to Kinsa corporate headquarters in San Francisco.

Thanks to Kinsa, Miller's team was able to study more than 8 million temperature readings from all 50 U.S. states, which were provided over a period of nearly two years.

The team found that by using real-time data from the off-the-shelf thermometers, they were able to forecast outbreaks of flu-like illness in various parts of the country up to three weeks earlier than conventional forecasting methods. .... " 

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