Virginia Tech developing app to track flu outbreaks near you - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Virginia Tech developing app to track flu outbreaks near you

The app will give users information about how the flu is spreading. (Source: Virginia Tech) The app will give users information about how the flu is spreading. (Source: Virginia Tech)
BLACKSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

New technology from Virginia Tech will make it easier to track flu outbreaks, right from your phone.

Researchers are teaming up with AccuWeather to make a flu forecast part of its weather app. They're using a disease forecasting tool originally developed to predict the spread of Ebola in western Africa.

The flu forecast will give users information about how the flu is spreading and when areas are expected to get hit hardest.

The app will gather and use information based on data from state and local health departments, as as well as other social media and news stories about the flu in the area to give you a forecast of how severe the flu outbreak could be where you live.

The idea is to allow you to plan and take some preventive actions.

"You, as a user, can click on Roanoke and ask the question, 'how intense the flu activity will be in the next few weeks?'" said Professor Madhav Marathe with the Biocomplexity Institute.

"The idea here is just to allow you to plan for that, hopefully take some preventive actions...like if you've got that sniffle, you know the flu's on the increase, maybe you don't go into work that day, and you can actually spare some of your colleagues or you hold your kid back from school," said Bryan Lewis, Epidemiologist and associate professor for the Biocomplexity Institute.

The forecast will be updated weekly. The app is expected to launch near the end of summer.

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