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Smart thermometer, app provide real-time influenza tracking

February 9, 2018

Using a “smart” thermometer connected to a mobile phone app, University of Iowa researchers have successfully demonstrated that they can track influenza activity in real time at both population and individual levels, and in the process accurately predict flu activity as much as three weeks in advance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors influenza-like illnesses (ILI) in the United States by gathering information from physicians’ reports about patients with these illnesses who seek medical attention—one of the most widely used methods for tracking flu. While CDC’s data provides useful estimates of influenza activity, there’s a one- to two-week delay in release of formal reports.

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