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Sick mobile app tracks H1N1, other outbreaks near you

Want to know what illnesses are flourishing nearby without getting sick yourself? The builders of HealthMap, an online service that collects and maps various reports of infectious diseases such as the H1N1 swine flu, have launched a similarly ill application for the iPhone.

Outbreaks Near Me, the none-too-jocundly named app, was developed by researchers at the Children's Hospital Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, and can send notifications for everything from lumpy skin disease to porcine circovirus in your vicinity.

"As people are equipped with more knowledge and awareness of infectious disease, the hope is that they will become more involved and proactive about public health," John Brownstein, a HealthMap co-founder and assistant professor in the Children's Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP), said in a prepared statement.

Comments (1)

  1. I downloaded this app for my iPhone to check it out. I have to say the web experience at HealthMap.org is much better. However, there is a message in the app's info section that they are struggling to meet higher than expected demand which has been resulting in slower performance. The information about outbreaks is sourced from a variety of trusted news outlets and international reporting groups. The fact that individuals can submit outbreaks is interesting as well, I am sure there is a vetting process for accuracy but there doesn't seem to be any related language in the submission disclaimer, other than HealthMap doesn't take responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in any submission - which is standard for end user submission sites/services. The best feature, in my opinion, is the apps push notifications by disease type and your geo-location. I signed up for West Nile Virus and the more general category "foodborne illness", and there are plenty more to choose from. Overall it's a fun app to check out, but I am not sure if I will use the app everyday - especially since it allows me to select the alerts I want.

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