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The Google Flu Chart That's Blowing Everyone's Mind

Matthew Boesler

This year, flu season is hitting hard. The latest data show that influenza cases are up 31.6 percent from last year.

The thick blue line below shows the volume of Google searches for influenza-related terms this year – a good coincident indicator of flu activity – which are sharply above those in any other year in recent memory:

Analysts are predicting it will only get worse.  Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig writes in a note to clients that "the flu season is off to an early start this season, and the CDC is projecting the worst season in 10 years."

Jefferies analyst David Windley wrote, " In short, we are seeing an increase in activity with no signs of moderation yet," and continued, " If we take the CDC’s rule  of thumb that flu season typically peaks in January or February, it seems likely to us that this season will be markedly worse than either of the last two years, and may reach the level of the 2007-2008 season."

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