Magazine article The Nation's Health

Online Flu Tracking Tool Receives More Than 50,000 Surveys

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Online Flu Tracking Tool Receives More Than 50,000 Surveys

Article excerpt

FOLLWING a successful pilot project involving hundreds of APHA members, an online influenza surveillance tool known as Flu Near You is expanding across the nation and beyond.

Initially unveiled at APHA's 2011 Annual Meeting, Flu Near You is a real-time, online surveillance tool that allows participants to report their flu symptoms via weekly surveys. Information from the survey is used to track and map influenza cases at the local, state and national levels.

Over the past year, APHA members supported the tool by taking part in the Association's Flu Near You Challenge. Through the challenge, members regularly reported their flu symptoms -- or lack of them -- and recruited others to provide reports. Participants were able to earn prizes if they attained a certain number of surveys.

At the end of the challenge, which concluded in October, more than 50,000 surveys had been completed from thousands of users in every state.

"The challenge went really well," said Michelle Holshue, RN, APHA's Flu Near You fellow. "It was a big effort to get the public health community engaged and excited about the tool, and it paid off."

Ten APHA members received prizes in the individual category for their work in the challenge: Tom Engle, RN; Ted Marak; Ken Rosenberg MD, MPH; Jeneane Moody, MPH; Farideh Kioumehr, DrPH, DVM, MPH; Kathy Johnson, MPH; Lois Uttley, MPP; Rebecca Gluskin, MS; Patricia Terstenyak, MPH; and Chelsey Matter.

While no participants in the group category collected enough surveys to win prizes, three organizations stood out for their efforts: APHA's Public Health Nursing Section, the Oregon Public Health Association and Rhode Island Public Health Association collectively accounted for more than 18,000 surveys. …

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