The Association Between Internet Search Patterns and Scabies Incidence Across the United States

Main Article Content

Kennedy Sparling
Pooja Dhupati


scabies, public health, google



Scabies, a contagious skin infestation caused by Sarcoptes scabiei, is a significant public health concern [1]. Traditional surveillance methods for scabies suffer from time lag and incomplete data, hindering early detection and response [5]. The widespread use of the internet and search engines, such as GoogleTM, offer new opportunities for alternative surveillance approaches. 


This study aimed to explore the association between scabies search volumes on Google TrendsTM (GTs) and scabies incidence at the state level across the United States.


GTs data for each U.S. state and scabies incidence from 2011 to 2019 were analyzed for summary statistics and association.


The mean Spearman correlation coefficient for the period of 2011-2019 indicated a strong positive correlation between GTs RSVs for “scabies” and the incidence of scabies in the United States. Using an unpaired t-test, this correlation was found to be statistically significant. 


In resource-scarce environments where access to care is a common barrier, healthcare providers and departments can leverage this information to effectively target populations and employ resources for scabies prevention and treatment. Analyzing search engine term patterns can enhance our understanding of people's behavior when they suspect a scabies infestation.


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