Fitbit could help predict flu outbreaks, study says

(CNN) - A new study determined that Fitbit devices may be able to help health officials stop the flu from spreading.

Fitbit devices may be able to predict flu outbreaks. (Source: CNN)

Researchers reviewed de-identified data, which the company’s privacy policy allows it to use for research, from users wearing Fitbits and found that they were able to do real-time flu prediction at the state level.

Researchers tracked deviations in heart rate and sleep patterns, which tend to change when a person has the flu and compared that data to flu-like illness rates reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This marks the first time heart rate trackers and sleep data have been used to predict the flu or any infectious disease in real time, study authors say.

Twenty percent of children under five and approximately 7% of working adults get the flu each year. It also results in 650,000 deaths annually worldwide.

Copyright 2020 CNN. All rights reserved.