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Searches for `bird flu` increase by more than 450%

With the outbreak of the bird flu in Southeast Asia and the first reported case in Europe, the possibility that the virus will spread to the U.S….

With the outbreak of the bird flu in Southeast Asia and the first reported case in Europe, the possibility that the virus will spread to the U.S. has increased. The threat of a pandemic has generated huge desire for more information on the situation among the U.S population and President George W. Bush has announced efforts to confront the disease.



According to Hitwise, the world`s leading online competitive intelligence service, U.S. searches for bird flu surged 466 percent during the week ending Oct. 15, 2005 versus two weeks prior (week ending Oct. 1, 2005), indicating heightened research on the virus. Another site which has seen increases in traffic as a direct result of the outbreak is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, which hosts the latest information regarding the virus. In the past two weeks, the site`s market share of visits has increased by 18 percent.



If panic surrounding the bird flu continues to spread around the world, Internet searches on bird flu and avian flu will be an indication of the extent of the concern, said Bill Tancer, general manager of worldwide research at Hitwise. It will be interesting to see if this concern has any impact on online travel research to Europe and Asia in the coming weeks.

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