Tag Archives: flu

The Influenza Virus Visualized

Humans can be infected by influenza viruses types A,B, and C. Type A affects humans, birds, and pigs. Type B and C affect only humans. Type C is less severe than type A and it does not cause pandemics.

In this visualization by Information is Beautiful, we can see how the different strains of influenza virus affect humans, what is their origin, and how they are transmitted from pigs and from birds ultimately to humans.

Type A influenza is divided into H and N strains. The “swine flu” N1H1 killed 15,000 people worldwide in 2009-2010. The “bird flu” H5N1 strain, with a fatality rate of 60%, has killed 371 people as of 2013. The more recent H7N9 strain has killed thousand of pigs in China, with 8 human fatalities to date.


It Is Flu Time!

Right now it is flu season in the northern hemisphere. The flu (influenza) is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses.

Google Trends created the map shown above, based on aggregate data generated by users searching for the word “flu” and related terms, in order to estimate flu activity worldwide. According to data captured by Google Trends, flu activity is very intense in the U.S. at the moment. Canada, Russia, Norway, Poland, the Netherlands and Japan show high flu activity as well.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks the geographical spread of flu across the United States, however, the collected data does not reflect intensity of influenza activity.

As can be seen in the map, the flu has spread relatively quickly in the last three weeks throughout the continental United States. California, Mississippi and the District of Columbia show local influenza activity at the moment.