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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Columbia’s First Real-Time Flu Forecast Successful

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health were able to reliably predict the timing of the 2012-2013 influenza season up to nine weeks in advance of its peak. The first large-scale demonstration of the flu forecasting system was carried out in 108 cities across the United States. Results are published online in Nature Communications. The flu forecasting system adapts techniques used in modern weather prediction to turn real-time, web-based estimates of influenza infection into local forecasts of the seasonal peak by locality. Influenza activity peaked in cities in the southeast as early as December 2012, but crested in most of the country in the first weeks of 2013.