Epidemic or epiphenomenon?

A number of crowd-sourced infection monitors such as FluNearYou (by our own Dr. J. Brownstein) have reported an apparent upsurge in influenza-like illnesses over the last week. The CDC has not yet reported the same trend. If the CDC then confirms this early warning, it will represent a transition from proof of principle of the citizen as health monitor (see here and here) to general public health utility. If not, then we may be witnessing an outbreak of hypochondria.

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