Correlation Between National Surveillance and Search Engine Query Data on Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections in Japan
BackgroundThe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease burden is significant, especially in infants and patients with an underlying disease, and prophylaxis with palivizumab is recommended for these high-risk groups. Early recognition of a RSV epidemic is important for timely administration of palivizumab. We herein aimed to assess the correlation between national surveillance and Google Trends data pertaining to RSV infections in Japan.MethodsThe retrospective survey was performed between
... ary 1, 2018, and November 14, 2021, and evaluated the correlation of national surveillance and Google Trends data. Joinpoint regression was used to analyze the data to evaluate the points at which changes in trends occurred. ResultsAs a result, a strong correlation was observed every study year (2018 [r=0.87, p<0.01], 2019 [r=0.83, p<0.01], 2020 [r=0.83, p<0.01], and 2021 [r=0.96, p<0.01]). The change-points in the Google Trends data indicating the start of the RSV epidemic in 2018 and 2021 were observed earlier than by sentinel surveillance and in 2019 and 2020 simultaneously with sentinel surveillance.ConclusionsOur data suggested that Google Trends has the potential to enable early identification of the RSV epidemic. In countries without a national surveillance system, Google Trends may serve as an alternative early warning system.