Journal Article

Use of Prediction Markets to Forecast Infectious Disease Activity

Philip M. Polgreen, Forrest D. Nelson, George R. Neumann and Robert A. Weinstein

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 44, issue 2, pages 272-279
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/510427
Use of Prediction Markets to Forecast Infectious Disease Activity

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Prediction markets have accurately forecasted the outcomes of a wide range of future events, including sales of computer printers, elections, and the Federal Reserve's decisions about interest rates. We propose that prediction markets may be useful for tracking and forecasting emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian influenza, by aggregating expert opinion quickly, accurately, and inexpensively. Data from a pilot study in the state of Iowa suggest that these markets can accurately predict statewide seasonal influenza activity 2–4 weeks in advance by using clinical data volunteered from participating health care workers. Information revealed by prediction markets may help to inform treatment, prevention, and policy decisions. Also, these markets could help to refine existing surveillance systems.

Journal Article.  3980 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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