Google creating early-warning system for dengue outbreaks

Internet giant Google recently announced plans to use search data to create an early-warning system for dengue fever outbreaks.

Google will partner with Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School on the project, which will track nascent epidemics by looking at internet search results from users in dengue hotspots like Bolivia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and Singapore, according to the L.A. Times.

The online tool, which will be located at, will follow the same methodology used in Google Flu Trends, which was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The tool will also use the Google Correlate system, which was created to help researchers track real-time behavior using internet search trends.

The dengue data may take weeks or even months to collect and analyze, but once it is ready, Google expects the site to be updated on a daily basis.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical virus that infects hundreds of millions of people every year. Sufferers face high fever, severe headaches and joint pain. There is also a hemorrhagic form of the disease that can be life-threatening. There is no known vaccine for dengue, so most medical efforts to stop the disease focus on prevention.