With an estimated 500 million people infected each year, dengue ranks as one of the most significant mosquito-borne viral human diseases, and one of the most rapidly emerging vectorborne diseases. A variety of obstacles including bureaucracy and lack of resources have interfered with timely detection and reporting of dengue cases in many endemic countries. Surveillance efforts have turned to modern data sources, such as Internet search queries, which have been shown to be effective for monitoring influenza-like illnesses. However, few have evaluated the utility of web search query data for other diseases, especially those of high morbidity and mortality or where a vaccine may not exist.
We aimed to assess whether web search queries are a viable data source for the early detection and monitoring of dengue epidemics.