Biostatistician Nicholas Reich, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have created a simple, accurate method for hospitals and public health departments to determine the onset of influenza activity at the community level.

The authors say their algorithm, or statistical technique, which they call Above Local Elevated Respiratory Illness Threshold (ALERT), will help to signal that influenza transmission is rising in a given region and will assist public health officials, researchers, doctors and hospitals with prevention and healthcare delivery.

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