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Top Petri Dish Destinations of the Mediterranean

8/22/2012

The intersection of health and social media has revealed some interesting insights into the spread of disease. This summer as we've been tracking and analyzing the spread of a chronic cough in the UK during the Olympic games we noticed a strange colloquialism that kept popping up in several tweets and Facebook updates, something called 'maga cough'. These reports were referring to a popular party destination called Magaluf in Calvià, Spain. In fact, the reputation of Magaluf can be summed up by one of it's more colorful nicknames as noted in Urban Dictionary, Shagamuff. For our fellow Americans, think of Daytona Beach during Spring Break and you'll get the idea.

Interestingly, we noticed that Maga Cough and Maga Flu (coincidentally an anagram for Magaluf) were reported as lasting several weeks in areas where Whooping Cough has also been on the rise, like most recently in Scotland. Reports including, "Still got the maga cough and ave [sic] been back over 2 weeks!" and "I have had a cough for at least 3 weeks now [...] damn u Zante!" (Zante is a similar destination) This got us thinking, could there be a connection between Whooping Cough and these reports? We'll leave that to medical professionals to determine, but we also noticed that several of the reports like this tweet from July 16th indicated that people were traveling to Magaluf despite already being sick, "I've got such a nice cough for going to maga." With Whooping Cough already on the rise in the UK, and young adults from the UK traveling to Magaluf despite being sick, it would seem probable that some of these partygoers could be taking Whooping Cough with them to Magaluf and spreading it to others returning to the UK and other nearby countries. This illustrated Magaluf in our minds as a sort of petri dish.

Infographic showing Top Petri Dish Destinations of the Mediterranean

But Magaluf isn't the only party destination in the Mediterranean, and we quickly discovered more colloquialisms based on other cities like "Ibiza Bark", "Malia Disease", "Zante Flu", "Napa Cough" and "Kavos Cough". In the past 45 days, we've tracked all of these and ranked these Petri Dish Destinations by the number of reports of flu and cough attributed to each:

  1. Magaluf - 66 reports
  2. Zante (aka Zakynthos) - 43 reports
  3. Malia - 37 reports
  4. Ayia Napa - 25 reports
  5. Kavos - 21 reports
  6. Ibiza - 20 reports

So, if you're planning to imbibe in the club scene of these aforementioned cities, you may want to make sure you're up on all your vaccinations. Oh, and stay away from the Rushkinoff vodka, unless you want to get 'Rushkinoff Cough'.

Submitted by Graham Dodge, CEO & Co-Founder

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