Use of internet search data to monitor rotavirus vaccine impact in the United States, United Kingdom, and Mexico

Minesh P. Shah*, Benjamin A. Lopman, Jacqueline E. Tate, John Harris, Marcelino Esparza-Aguilar, Edgar Sanchez-Uribe, Vesta Richardson, Claudia A. Steiner, Umesh D. Parashar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. Previous studies have found a strong correlation between internet search and public health surveillance data. Less is known about how search data respond to public health interventions, such as vaccination, and the consistency of responses in different countries. In this study, we aimed to study the correlation between internet searches for "rotavirus" and rotavirus disease activity in the United States, United Kingdom, and Mexico before and after introduction of rotavirus vaccine. Methods. We compared time series of internet searches for "rotavirus" from Google Trends with rotavirus laboratory reports from the United States and United Kingdom and with hospitalizations for acute gastroenteritis in the United States and Mexico. Using time and location parameters, Google quantifies an internet query share (IQS) to measure the relative search volume for specific terms. We analyzed the correlation between IQS and laboratory and hospitalization data before and after national vaccine introductions. Results. There was a strong positive correlation between the rotavirus IQS and laboratory reports in the United States (R2 = 0.79) and United Kingdom (R2 = 0.60) and between the rotavirus IQS and acute gastroenteritis hospitalizations in the United States (R2 = 0.87) and Mexico (R2 = 0.69) (P < .0001 for all correlations). The correlations were stronger in the prevaccine period than in the postvaccine period. After vaccine introduction, the mean rotavirus IQS decreased by 40% (95% confidence interval [CI], 25%-55%) in the United States and by 70% (95% CI, 55%-86%) in Mexico. In the United Kingdom, there was a loss of seasonal variation after vaccine introduction. Conclusions. Rotavirus internet search data trends mirrored national rotavirus laboratory trends in the United States and United Kingdom and gastroenteritis-hospitalization data in the United States and Mexico; lower correlations were found after rotavirus vaccine introduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support. This work was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in gastrointestinal infections at the University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England (PHE). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England. Potential conflicts of interest. All authors: No reported conflicts.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Digital epidemiology
  • Google
  • Rotavirus
  • Surveillance
  • Vaccine effectiveness

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