Predicting and Tracking the Swine Flu Virus Part 2

There are a number of maps available to track the Swine Flu.

HealthMap allows you to select various sources of information independently, to select various diseases, categories such as “new and ongoing outbreaks” and “international significance” and specific warnings.

Dr. Henry Niman, a biomedical researcher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who runs Recombinomics, compiled the map and the data behind it for the map shown in this article using technology provided by Rhiza Labs and Google. The map used Rhiza’s web based mapping product, Insight, to get both official and unofficial data such as news reports and user contributions into the tracking system quickly.

In response to a request from scientists at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Google has released a new version of its Flu Trends map designed for Mexico. Unlike Flu Trends for the U.S, Flu Trends for Mexico at this time does not include historical surveillance data to validate that its search data corresponds to actual infections.

The Pacific Disaster Center uses ESRI software to track the Swine Flu, as well as hazards, recent earthquakes, active volcanoes and includes basemap layers such as hydrography, imagery, elevation, demography and infrastructure.

MapCruzin.com is maintaining an archive of H1N1 ArcGIS shapefiles and Excel spreadsheets so that users can track swine flu occurrences over time. Included in the data are confirmed cases, suspected cases, fatalities and documentation. The site also includes free software and a tutorial to view the shapefile maps.

ESRI has historically provided aid to agencies tracking disease and has added information for any organization needing assistance to its existing disaster management Web pages at Public Health Support .

According to the company, a county health department in Texas is using this program to receive technical support as they launch a real-time system to track 911 calls from people complaining of flu symptoms. Health alert networks use this resource to exchange data between health care providers including hospitals and clinics and public health departments. In Mexico, ESRI's distributor, SGSA, the command and control center in Mexico City using technical staff members and ESRI software to communicate with local health authorities.

During the SARS epidemic in 2002, ESRI China (Hong Kong) developed and hosted the SARS Mapping Web site. The system, built on ArcIMS, launched with both English and Chinese interfaces, provided up-to-date information on the progression of the disease based on daily updated information gathered from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), Department of Health (DoH), Government of Hong Kong SAR, and WHO. The data were collected, geocoded, and presented as online maps that could be interrogated, analyzed, navigated, and printed.

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