Sunday, September 11, 2011

House Makes CDC Website Jump

Fans of House are curious; that's clear from web traffic measured by the CDC.

In collaboration with the show, the CDC set up web pages on some of the public health topics mentioned in certain episodes. Then they tracked what happened when the episodes aired. 

The top five searches included four topics in the area of sexual and reproductive health . . . but the fi fth was a bit different: ciguatera fish poisoning. House mentioned it during “Airborne” (3-18) as he and Cuddy tried to determine what had caused a passenger on their fl ight from Singapore to vomit and collapse during his meal. 

As viewers who clicked on the link learned from the CDC Web site:

Ciguatera fish poisoning (or ciguatera) is an illness caused by eating
fish that contain toxins produced by a marine microalgae called
Gambierdiscus toxicus. People who have ciguatera may experience
nausea, vomiting, and neurologic symptoms such as tingling fi ngers
or toes. They also may find that cold things feel hot and hot things
feel cold. Ciguatera has no cure. Symptoms usually go away in days
or weeks but can last for years. People who have ciguatera can be
treated for their symptoms.


“The other thing we learned is that by tracking search engine data from Google, Yahoo, these kinds of sites, about those topics while the show is airing . . . we find that people are multitasking. They are not waiting until the episode is over or the next day, they are searching during that hour,” says Sandra de Castro Buffington, the director of the Hollywood, Health & Society program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center.

Read the full discussion in “House, M.D. vs. Reality

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