AP: “We have a long flu season ahead of us”

The Associated Press reports: "Estimates of deaths caused by the swine flu have grown to nearly 4,000 since April, roughly quadrupling previous estimates. But that doesn't mean swine flu suddenly has worsened. Instead, the federal numbers made public Thursday reflect a long-awaited better attempt to quantify the new flu's true toll." We're glad to see public agencies making a better effort to give people the information they need to protect themselves, given the fact that: "I am expecting all of these numbers, unfortunately, to continue to rise," said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We have a long flu season ahead of us."   and,   Tight supplies of vaccine to combat the illness continue: Not quite 42 million doses are currently available, a few million less than CDC had predicted last week.   From the beginning, FluTracker has been a reliable and current source...

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A busy week for FluTracker

The best way to stop the spread of swine flu is to stay informed. Luckily, as flu season begins and the threat mounts, major media outlets have been getting the word out about FluTracker. Read below to get the latest on how FluTracker is making an impact. TV news outlets highlight using FluTracker to find flu in your area Does your neighbor have swine flu? Pittsburgh station WPXI-TV highlights FluTracker's features and impact in this feature. Learn more about how FluTracker works, how accurate its data is, and how you can help in this feature. CNET: FluTracker "your best bet" CNET reports: "Rhiza Lab's FluTracker app is one of the best ways to track the swine flu on the Web. [...] If you're looking for in-depth but easily understandable tracking of the swine flu, FluTracker is your best bet." Read more. LifeHacker: FluTracker easiest, most informative LifeHacker notes that out...

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Tune in: Crowdsourcing and the H1N1 Virus Webinar with URISA

This Wednesday, September 23 at 3:00 PM (EST) URISA, the Urban Regional Information System Alliance will be hosting an exciting Webinar about the controlled crowdsourcing technology behind Rhiza's popular FluTracker website. FluTracker is able to make outbreak data available to the public 5-10 days ahead of the estimates provided by the CDC. This Webinar will explain how you can utilize controlled outsourcing and take advantage of the newly developed technology and the omnipresence of the public to inform people of flu outbreaks. This is just one example of how Community Participatory Mapping is being used to make information more readily available to the public. You will learn how to best utilize this tool and get the maximum amount of benefits from the developing technologies. "Crowdsourcing and the H1N1 Virus" will be presented by Maryl Widdows and Andrew Macurak of Rhiza Labs, located in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information, visit URISA....

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FluTracker in URISA News

Learn more about the design process behind FluTracker from Jeff Christensen, Rhiza Labs' Chief Product Officer, in the latest URISA News. URISA is the leading association for professionals in the urban and regional information systems, with chapters across the United States. Read the full article after the jump: FluTracker: How a 6-Person Company Launched a Global Pandemic Information Portal in Under 48 Hours

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Swine Flu Spreads, FluTracker Responds | FluTracker Update, Vol. 1

It's been a busy month for the FluTracker team. We've been sharing our work at conferences, spreading the word in major media, helping Fortune 100 and Federal agencies with preparedness planning, and continuing to track an emerging threat. W.H.O to Stop Tracking Swine Flu Global Agency Surprises Public Health Experts "The announcement...perplexed some experts, and even baffled a W.H.O. spokesman..." With official sources no longer even attempting to track swine flu, resources like FluTracker are the best bet for monitoring the spread of the virus. Read more in the New York Times. New School Year, More Swine Flu Returning to School and Spreading the Flu Swine flu is still circulating in the United States despite it not being flu season. For that reason, the CDC expects swine flu to erupt as soon as school opens this fall, rather than at the traditional beginning of flu season. Read more in the...

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Petition the CDC, WHO for Better Flu Data

Concerned citizens and medical professionals alike need detailed, timely information about the spread of H1N1 swine flu to safeguard their communities and families. The CDC and WHO should be releasing more detailed and timely information about the spread of swine flu than is currently available to the public. Moreover, both organizations are releasing information with decreasing frequency, despite the increasing spread of the virus. Join the call for better flu information by signing the FluTracker petition online! Click here to sign. Read on for the full petition: Summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere share the explosive growth of H1N1 swine flu. The potential for the novel H1N1 virus to combine with other strains during the northern hemisphere’s upcoming flu season, along with the World Health Organization’s elevation of swine flu to pandemic status, underscore the growing threat to public health. It is likely that the...

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FluTracker Powers Public Engagement Project

Who said playing video games never amounts to anything Coral Cross, a new game from the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies (HRCFS), is using FluTracker data to spread pandemic preparedness information faster than the flu itself can spread. Commissioned by the Hawaii Department of Health in 2008 and funded by the US federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Coral Cross was originally intended to simulate the effects of a near-future global influenza outbreak in Hawaii and to collect critical public feedback. However, just weeks before the game was scheduled to launch, the actual H1N1 epidemic grew to pandemic proportions, and HRCFS retrofitted Coral Cross to "game" the swine flu crisis. "Serious games" like Coral Cross are an increasingly popular way to engage and inform participants around potential crisis situations. Coral Cross is an exciting addition to the enormous roster of innovative ways citizens and organizations are using...

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WHO Officially Declares Swine Flu Pandemic

BREAKING NEWS -- Sudden spikes of swine flu have led the World Health Organization to declare swine flu a pandemic, which is marked by sustained, widespread transmission across the world. Health leaders announced in the Times of London: "We need to avoid complacency in dealing with a virus that is an unknown and seems to be spreading quickly." (Watch a video of swine flu's spread) Tools to help your organization respond In response to this emerging challenge, Rhiza Labs created FluTracker to get more flu information to more people more quickly. FluTracker has been acknowledged as tracking the spread of swine flu 5-10 days faster than the CDC. While FluTracker remains free for personal use, Fortune 100 companies, public agencies, and major hospitals have engaged Rhiza to tailor FluTracker to their needs. For example, AT&T purchases FluTracker data to track flu outbreaks in relation to their employees around the world....

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