’Flu mar­ket opens trad­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - Your Health -

IF this Amer­i­can fu­tures mar­ket is boom­ing, you can hold the cel­e­bra­tions be­cause it prob­a­bly means you’re go­ing to get sick.

In­fluenza ex­perts came up with a novel way of pre­dict­ing out­breaks by cre­at­ing a fu­tures mar­ket for in­fluenza ac­tiv­ity, bor­row­ing the idea from economists.

Health care work­ers buy shares if they see an in­creased num­ber of flu cases and sell if there is a de­creased num­ber, mak­ing high share prices a key in­di­ca­tor of an up­com­ing out­break.

A pre­lim­i­nary test in Iowa proved highly suc­cess­ful, with out­break ac­tiv­ity lev­els ac­cu­rately pre­dicted at the end of the week 71 per cent of the time.

The in­fluenza pre­dic­tion mar­ket will be pre­sented in the Jan­uary 15 is­sue of Clin­i­cal In­fec­tious Dis­eases.

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