Photo from Ben Chau’s Self Portrait series (Flickr)
I do agree with many others that the hysteria whipped up by the press over swine flu is crazy. You can’t watch the TV news or look at a newspaper without getting annoyed by headline exaggerations or being swamped by “suspected’ swine flu victims or public places deserted except from mask donning cleaners wiping down tables and benches (must be a profitable time for the cleaning agent industry). Today for example an Australian Sunday paper announced that “our” first flu case is “a certainty” – even though the two people in question actually are quarantined in London.
So, if you’re a bit of a hypochondriac or get overly worried by too many press reports, here’s is a list of links to hopefully more level-headed information, compiled by Download Squad’s Christina Warren under the meaningful title Aporkalypse Now: Where to get Swine Flu info online:
Official Agency Sites:
CDC H1N1 Page — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (located in Atlanta, holla!) is a great source for H1N1 information for individuals and communities. The site is frequently updated and links to other world agencies and organizations. You can also check out the CDC’s mobile site for news on the go, and check out the assorted CDC Twitter feeds.
PandemicFlu.gov — This site is maintained by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and aggregates information from the CDC, WHO and other organizations.
World Health Organization — The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has a dedicated H1N1 site with media information, latest news and official WHO reports. The WHO also has a Twitter feed.
Food and Agriculture Organization — Similarly, the UN’s FAO is focussed on background information on H1N1, and is monitoring the situation.
Miscellaneous News Sites:
Swine-flu.Alltop.com — Alltop’s mashup of H1N1 information includes not only agency sources, but major news coverage from sources like the New York Times and USA Today, as well as social streams from places like Twitter, WordPress.com and other social networks.
Open Directory Project — The Open Directory Project has some resources if you’re into accessing the Internet a la Yahoo! in 1996.
Google Flu Trends — Google Flu Trends, which is still in development is tracking swine flu cases in the US and in Mexico
HealthMap.org — HealthMap.org has a color coded map (using the Google API) that is frequently updated and shows outbreaks and cases all over the world.
Ushahidi — Social powered site Ushahidi has a Swine Flu outbreak map too.
Google Maps — This user-created Google Map is frequently updated and includes more specific outbreak information, easily viewable by location.
Videos, Podcasts and others:
Swine Flu Podcasts from the CDC (iTunes link) — The CDC has produced a series of podcasts for information and sensible tips for preventing the spread of infection. Video versions (iTunes link) are available too.
iPhone app (coming soon) — According to Tech Crunch, an iPhone app tracking the Swine Flu is on the way. Now this is just getting stupid.
Muppets: I couldn’t resist. Some of my favorite, “wash your hands” themed Sesame Street sketches. Check out Gordon #1 and freakadelic Big Bird in clip one!