Web Zap*Germs Archive

October 18, 2005

UK Net Searchers Seek "Bird Flu" Info

Interesting report by Net4Now:
The growing threat of bird flu across Europe has resulted in a dramatic increase in searches online in the UK, according to Hitwise a 200% increase in searches over the last week.

In the last 4 weeks, searches on the term ‘bird flu’ have increased more than five-fold, whilst in the last week alone searches have risen by more than 200%. This spike in searches coincided with reports last week that the virus had now reached Turkey, as well as a warning from the [UK] government’s chief medical officer that a pandemic will inevitably spread from bird flu outbreaks and could cause the deaths of 50,000 or more people in the UK alone. In the last 2 weeks, searches on ‘flights to Turkey’ have also seen a marked downturn, falling by 23%.

Hitwise reports that UK internet users are searching on more than 560 variations of the term as they seek further information on the outbreak, with ‘bird flu symptoms’ and ‘bird flu vaccine’ among the most popular.

The top 5 sites currently receiving traffic from searches on ‘bird flu’ are mainly news sites, indicating that interest in the disease is mostly informational as UK internet users monitor its progress. The top website receiving traffic from the term is Google News (, followed by the US website of the Center for Disease Control ( and PRB Pharmaceuticals (


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