Story Banner Alex Vespignani

Validation for Flu Prediction

This week, Boston Mayor Tom Menino declared a state of emergency after the state announced there is a flu outbreak. Clinics have been set up on what seems like every street corner so that people can get flu shots. And we’re all being reminded to wash our hands, cover our coughs, and stay home if we don’t feel well.

Now, think back to 2009 when H1N1 took hold of not just the country, but the world. More than 40 million people were said to have had the virus. It killed more than 14,000 people.

At the time, Alessandro Vespig­nani was at the Uni­ver­sity of Indiana, where, as Angela Herring of [email protected] writes, “he began tracking the dis­ease with as much atten­tion as the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol.”

Vespignani is now the Stern­berg Family Dis­tin­guished Uni­ver­sity Pro­fessor of physics, com­puter sci­ence, and health sci­ences at North­eastern University, and he continues to monitor outbreaks around the world.

As news of the latest outbreak is upon us, Vespignani and his colleagues recently pub­lished an article in the journal BMC Med­i­cine that offers defin­i­tive proof of a strong agree­ment between the pre­dic­tions and the real-​​life sur­veil­lance data col­lected in 2009.

Read more about Vespignani’s work, here.

College of Science