Flu season is hanging on longer than usual in parts of the Northwest. That’s shown in cases of the flu -- and also via web searches. Google queries for terms like “muscle aches,” ”flu symptoms” and “thermometer” are being used to track where flu is hitting now.
Google and the Centers for Disease Control have found that flu-related searches go hand-in-hand with confirmed cases of the flu. Up-to-the-minute data is available on the web for anyone to track at a site called Google Flu Trends.
Nationwide, the site shows flu activity has been dropping off since March. But Washington state is bucking the trend.
Michele Roberts is with the Washington Department of Health. She says hospitals, schools, clinics and labs have also been reporting more cases of the flu in the last several weeks.
“Usually, we see flu season peak in February or early March in Washington and other states around the Pacific Northwest. But we still haven’t peaked yet." She says. "So it’s just a much later season that we would usually see.”
Google Flu Trends pegs Washington, Oregon and Alaska flu activity as “moderate.” Influenza prevalence in Idaho is rated “low.”
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