Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program

Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Dengue fever affects over 390 million people annually worldwide and is of particu- lar concern in Southeast Asia where it is one of the leading causes of hospitalization. Modeling trends in dengue occurrence can provide valuable information to Public Health officials, however many challenges arise depending on the data available. In Thailand, reporting of dengue cases is often delayed by more than 6 weeks, and a small fraction of cases may not be reported until over 11 months after they occurred. This study shows that incorporating data on Google Search trends can improve dis- ease predictions in settings with severely underreported data. We compare penalized regression approaches to seasonal baseline models and illustrate that incorporation of search data can improve prediction error. This builds on previous research show- ing that search data and recent surveillance data together can be used to create accurate forecasts for diseases such as influenza and dengue fever. This work shows that even in settings where timely surveillance data is not available, using search data in real-time can produce more accurate short-term forecasts than a seasonal baseline prediction. However, forecast accuracy degrades the further into the future the forecasts go. The relative accuracy of these forecasts compared to a seasonal average forecast varies depending on location. Overall, these data and models can improve short-term public health situational awareness and should be incorporated into larger real-time forecasting efforts.

First Advisor

Nicholas Reich

Second Advisor

Laura Balzer

Third Advisor

Jing Qian