Tracking the spread of sickness and disease

About GermTrax

GermTrax tracks the spread of disease on personal, local, and global scales. Read additional information about our privacy policy or contact us if you can't find what you're looking for.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


Q: What's the purpose of GermTrax?

The short answer: GermTrax is for fun. The long answer: Rather than attempting to pinpoint exactly where and when you got sick, GermTrax uses broader strokes to map all of the places you potentially got sick.

At the local level, this information might illuminate a particularly unhealthy location (for example, if 50 people who were sick with food poisoning all visited the same restaurant, you might not want to eat there tonight). At the global level, GermTrax can help individuals and health agencies discover large-scale sickness trends.

Q: What's the difference between an illness, a sickness and a disease?

An illness is a general state of state of bad health. A sickness refers to an impaired condition and a feeling of being unwell, which may or may not be caused by a specific disease. A disease is a diagnosable condition caused by an abnormal state or part of the body.

Typically, the terms "sickness" and "illness" are used to refer to non-specific conditions, whereas "disease" is used to describe a diagnosable condition. Since this can be somewhat ambiguous, GermTrax uses these terms interchangeably.

Q: I'm interested in the project. How can I find out more information?

You can email us directly or send a message from the contact page.

Q: Are there other ways to report symptoms or sicknesses?

You can always log a sickness on our mobile site or you can Tweet your symptoms to

Note: location services must be enabled.

Q: How many sicknesses can I log?

Connected users can log up to seven sicknesses per week. Anonymous users can only log one sickness.

Q: Which sicknesses does GermTrax track?

GermTrax covers general categories for common communicable sicknesses. These include upper respiratory problems, gastroinstestinal problems, skin rashes, pink eye (conjunctivitis), head lice (pediculosis), and chickenpox (varicella).

Q: Can GermTrax alert me of nearby health risks or outbreaks?

You can configure personal email alerts here. You can always view or delete your alerts on your settings page.

Q: My kid is sick. Can I log a sickness for my child?

Yes! Make sure to check "My child is sick" when entering a sickness.

Q: I'm concerned about my privacy. How does GermTrax protect my information?

GermTrax undestands the importance of protecting your personal information. Please read our privacy policy for details.

Q: I'm feeling really sick. Can GermTrax help me?

GermTrax is not meant for diagnosis or treatment purposes. See more details in the notes and disclaimers at the bottom our privacy policy.

Q: I don't want to login with Facebook. Is there another way?

Sorry, not at this time. If you are concerned about sharing your information with us, please read our privacy policy.

Q: How do I delete my GermTrax account?

All authentication is handled through third party social media sites (like Facebook), so there is no account to delete.

Q: Can I use GermTrax's data in conjunction with my own research or application?

Yes. If the data is for non-commercial use, you can access the latest reports via our  RSS feed. We simply ask that you notify us via email and credit GermTrax (with a backlink, if the data is published online). Commercial use of data will be handled on a case-by-case basis - please contact support[at] directly.