Flu Tracking Sites Spread on the Web

  • Flu Tracking Sites Spread on the Web

    With many Americans concerned about this year's flu season, it makes sense that the Web would create a way for all of the hypochondriacs, overprotective parents (ahem, mom) and legitimate medical professionals to track the spread of the flu. Thus, we have flu tracking Web sites. Using mapping technologies and code from Google and other mapping tools, there are several sites attempting to show you, in interactive map form, what areas are being hardest hit by the flu. But with so many to chose from, how will you pick just one to obsess over and refresh every 10 minutes? That's where MainStreet comes in. Although we don't encourage making any of these sites your home page, you should check them out very once in a while this winter to see if you need to up your Purell usage or intensify your hand-washing routine. Here's the rundown: Photo Credit: Samantha Celera
    FluTracker
  • FluTracker

    This site, which is managed by a Pittsburgh doctor, combines data from several official reports, news items and user-contributed info to form its map of swine flu cases around the world. Users can zoom into their local area and see whether the reported cases are suspected or confirmed and also if they were fatal incidents. This site is updated multiple times a day, which is a big plus if you're looking for up-to-the-minute reports. Also, the site tracks the total number of reported cases and fatal cases in a graph at the bottom of the screen, in case you're interested in tracking trends. One downside: the site has so much data that it takes a while to load, especially if you zoom in to your neighborhood. Photo Credit: FluTracker
    Google.org Flu Trends
  • Google.org Flu Trends

    Using their massive power and search insights, Google found that CDC data on flu trends seemed to correlate with flu-related search terms. Now, we have Google Flu Trends, which tracks how many people are searching for flu-related health information. It's eerie how similar the CDC reports and Google search trends are. The site is very basic, but interesting and very quick to load. It's also updated every day. Photo Credit: Google Flu Trends
    The Centers for Disease Control
  • The Centers for Disease Control

    This go-to source for U.S. flu activity has a ton of data on its site. The CDC's map of seasonal flu activity isn't as interesting or interactive as the other flu mappers out there, but the CDC has some of the most accurate, traceable data out there and is a trusted source. The CDC also has a weekly report on flu numbers that is chock full of great info. another upside to the CDC site? They provide a ton of information on vaccination updates, which many of these mapping sites don't even mention. Basically, this is the most useful and helpful of the flu sites, though it may not be the most fun. Photo Credit: CDC
    SwineFluTracker.net
  • SwineFluTracker.net

    This site's map feature is pretty extensive, but it only provides a breakdown of cases by state and then county. One upside is that it lists all of the sources for its data right on the map, so you can go straight to the source if you want more info about a particular swine flu report. Also, this map only tracks swine flu. Photo Credit: SwineFluTracker.net
    HealthMap.org
  • HealthMap.org

    This site, run in conjunction with the New England Journal of Medicine, gives you the ability to track the most recent reports of swine flu. The site has a very clean map and uses GoogleMaps to power its interface. Since July, the map only tracks swine flu cases through “informal sources” like the media, but it has a nice feature that some of the others don’t. The site will display a progression of swine flu reports between dates that you set. This allows you to sit back and watch swine flu run its course through your area, which is pretty interesting. Overall, this site has good info and an easy interface that users might actually find somewhat addictive. Photo Credit: HealthMap.org
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