April 27, 2009
Boston, Mass. - HealthMap, an online global disease-tracking and mapping tool, is tracking the outbreak of the swine flu in real-time at its freely available Web site. Its co-founders, John Brownstein, PhD, and Clark Freifeld of the Informatics Program (CHIP) at Children's Hospital Boston, have also set up a Twitter account that allows them to get information out to the public in a quicker fashion - as relevant information or information that is critical in the development of the outbreak is flagged, they post it, keeping the information real-time and up-to-the minute where possible.
HealthMap trolls information from disparate data sources such as news reports (i.e.Google News), curated personal accounts (i.e. ProMED), official alerts (i.e. alerts from the World Health Organization and CDC), blogs and chat rooms to track and map infectious disease outbreaks.
Typically, HealthMap averages 50,000 unique visitors each month including regular users from the World Health Organization, the CDC, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, who use the site for real-time information on emerging infectious diseases.
To speak with the creators of HealthMap about tracking the swine flu outbreak via the Web and using Twitter to provide real-time updates, contact Keri Stedman firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-919-3114.
HealthMap tracks the swine flu outbreak
Swine flu alerts on Twitter
PLoS Medicine reports on HealthMap
Brownstein and Freifeld present HealthMap to Google.org
The power of informatics
A recent issue of Vector features the work of CHIP researchers and highlights the development of HealthMap to track infectious disease outbreaks. [read more]