Online resources for tracking swine flu

If you want more information about the swine flu, we have you covered with great Web resources and some social networking tips.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

The spread of a new swine flu is quickly becoming a worldwide concern. The Web, of course, is an ideal resource for learning more about it, but there is plenty of misinformation as well. Here are the sites we recommend turning to.

Research sites

The CDC has all the best information. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET
The Centers for Disease Control : The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the best swine flu resource on the Web. You can learn about the outbreak of the flu and find key facts that help you understand it. There's a video podcast by a physician, giving you in-depth information about the flu's signs and symptoms, how it's transmitted, and steps you can take to protect yourself. This should be your first stop.

Flu Wiki : The Flu Wiki from Wikia helps you learn about influenza. From its symptoms to its varied strains, the site provides a wealth of knowledge on just about any flu topic. It also has a swine flu wiki page that, while helpful, could be more in-depth. But since the swine flu is somewhat similar to other influenza strains, the Flu Wiki will still come in handy.

Google Maps swine flu outbreak map: The swine flu outbreak map helps you find every known instance of the swine flu around the world. The map also provides information on the current state of the ill person. It will be continuously updated, so you can track it each day. But like following minute-by-minute stock market fluctuations, we don't recommend dwelling on this site.

H1N1 Timeline: The H1N1 (medical classification for swine flu) Timeline helps you determine where the flu is and where it's going. You can track where it started and get information about its progression. I found it quite useful.

HealthFinder: Healthfinder is a U.S. government resource that provides health research information to the public. Its articles on a variety of topics aren't as in-depth as those you'll find on a private site like WebMD, but they boast all the latest information from government resources such as the CDC. And if you look for data on the swine flu, it will direct you to the appropriate government site. It's worth checking out.

HealthMap shows you where the outbreaks are. HealthMap

HealthMap: If you want to try out another map to see where the swine flu is heading, HealthMap is for you. It provides information from a variety of sources. And it maps all the known outbreaks of sicknesses ranging from the swine flu to Typhoid. It's a great resource at any time of the year.

The New York State Department of Health : Even if you don't live in New York, its state health department site still provides some of the best information available on the swine flu. It features data on current outbreaks, frequently asked questions about the flu, and most importantly, tips on prevention. It's a great resource.

WebMD: WebMD offers information about the disease's symptoms, treatment, and prevention. The site has a "Swine Flu FAQ" page that answers a variety of questions you're probably looking to have answered. The information isn't as in-depth as what you'll get from the CDC, but it's close.

Wellsphere: Although Wellsphere doesn't offer as many articles as WebMD, the site and its writers--health experts from Stanford and other prominent institutions around the U.S.--provide in-depth knowledge about the swine flu. You can find the latest news and get updates about outbreaks. If you want general information on symptoms, Wellsphere will deliver that too.

World Health Organization: The World Health Organization is continuously updating its site with alerts about the swine flu. You can learn about its current effects worldwide and where it might hit next. You can also get information on symptoms and treatment. The WHO doesn't provide as much research as the CDC, but it's a reliable source.

Social network spots

If you want to get some information about the swine flu on your favorite social network, we have you covered.

Facebook Groups: There are a variety of swine flu group pages on Facebook, but the biggest group has almost 1,000 members. It's an active community that is constantly discussing the latest swine flu updates.

Tweetmeme gives you all the latest links. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Tweetmeme Outbreak Tweetmeme's Outbreak page provides you with all the links that crop up in real-time on Twitter about the swine flu. You'll find all the latest news in seconds, but we caution you to consider the source of each item before you act on it. This is Twitter we're talking about, not the CDC.

Twitter Search If you don't want to use Tweetmeme, simply inputting "swine flu" into Twitter will help you find information related to the outbreak from other Twitter users. I've let it run for about 15 minutes and already the results have updated with 2,500 new tweets. Some of the tweets are useless, but others provide links or information you'll want to explore as you learn more about the flu.

Twitter--Stop Swine Flu If you want all the latest information about the swine flu on Twitter, follow Stop Swine Flu. The account provides links to the latest news about the outbreak, tweets about its impact, and more. I found it to be a useful resource.

Twitter--Track Swine Similar to Stop Swine Flu, the Track Swine Twitter account boasts the latest information on swine flu. But unlike its counterpart, Track Swine is more location-based, offering updates on outbreaks and news in different areas of the world. If you want to track the outbreak, Track Swine is a good place to start.