Using internet search queries for infectious Surveillance: screening diseases for suitability.


BackgroundInternet-based surveillance systems provide a novel approach to monitoring infectious diseases. Surveillance systems built on internet data are economically- logistically and epidemiologically appealing and have shown significant promise. The potential for these systems has increased with increased internet availability and shifts in health-related information seeking behaviour. This approach to monitoring infectious diseases has- however- only been applied to single or small groups of select diseases. This study aims to systematically investigate the potential for developing surveillance and early warning systems using internet search data- for a wide range of infectious diseases.MethodsOfficial notifications for 64 infectious diseases in Australia were downloaded and correlated with frequencies for 164 internet search terms for the period 2009