Avoid Swine Flu Using the Internet
by Editor, Web Wise Business (29 April 2009)
You probably can't fail to have noticed the news about the latest crisis to have hit the world, swine flu, in the last few days. A deadly virus that has finally become actively transmitted between humans, swine flu has spread rapidly from the first reported cases in Mexico, where 152 people have died as a result, to a number of countries across the globe.
With the World Health Organisation (WHO) having raised it's pandemic alert status level to level four, "Significant Increase in Risk of Pandemic", the amount of coverage both offline and online devoted to this topic has soared.
But how can the internet help you avoid the potential pandemic?
Due to the vast amounts of information available online, along with the speed with which it is updated, there are a number of tools you can use to help track, and therefore avoid "virus hotspots". Below are some of the tools we at Web Wise Business
- World Health Organisation (WHO) Disease Outbreak Center
WHO is the worlds leading source for disease and infection related information. If you are searching for breaking news updates on major virus outbreaks, visit their disease news website for the latest information along with archived history of past outbreaks.
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Notices
The FCO is the UK body responsible for providing travel information to British travellers. The FCO have varying levels of notices and provide regular updates of where is deemed safe to travel. If you are planning on travelling, check their "swine flu travel updates" to make sure you avoid any outbreak areas.
While both of the above provide up to date information about virus outbreaks and their spread, HealthMap actually pinpoints specific areas in the world where outbreaks have been registered. Through aggregated news feeds from sources such as WHO, Google News and ProMED, among others, the site maps out the locations of outbreaks and provides a "Heat Index" to indicate how severe the situation is in a given outbreak area. The tool can be used to track the outbreaks of any particular health issues from common flu to the latest "swine flu", again, helpful for ensuring you avoid infection areas.
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