i-sense are collaborating with Flusurvey, the UK’s biggest crowd-sourced study of influenza, to help monitor the spread of flu in the UK more accurately and earlier than ever before.
Flusurvey scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) monitor flu across the UK by analysing weekly information relating to symptoms, provided in an online questionnaire by volunteers. With this new funding Flusurvey will, for the first time, be able to verify this data by offering some of their participants a swab to use at home, to confirm if their symptoms are caused by a flu virus or not.
Verifying cases of a virus (through laboratory testing and self-tests) is a crucial part of efforts to spot a pandemic flu outbreak with the potential to cause serious illness and death, and Flusurvey data feeds into national surveillance programmes. Together with scientists from Public Health England (PHE) and UCL, the results of these swabs will be analysed and combined with data from the millions of symptoms reported every day via web searches and social media platforms such as Twitter, providing geographically-linked information and supporting a more accurate picture of influenza-like illnesses in the UK.
Collaborating institutions: UCL, LSHTM, PHE