Tracking seasonal and swine flu

By Mike Wendland - blog
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

There is a simple but important reminder from health officials: don't forget your regular flu shot.

With so much attention on swine flu, there's real concern that millions of Americans will not protect themselves against ordinary seasonal flu. Technology is also helping keep an eye on this season's flu trends.

Here's a site you'll want to bookmark: Google's public flu trends system. It's designed to pick up early clues by tracking and analyzing internet searches for flu information from around the world.

Because people often search for information on the web before going to a doctor, Google says flu trends can provide early notice of trouble. There are maps and data by countries and states.

And then there's health map. It constantly hunts the web for flu and infectious disease information.  Reporting cases in real time. Over a map of the world that updates live as you watch. It even has an application, "Outbreaks Near Me," that can alert users to illnesses nearby, by message to their cell phone.

Finally, there's the official Centers for Disease Control website. It regularly issues updated flu surveillance reports, as well as tips on how to diagnose the illness, and how to prevent it.

To track the flu where you live, visit Google.com and type in flu trends, or check out our link under All Access.