The Ultimate Set of Swine Flu Tracking Tools

H1N1, often referred to as the swine flu, is a new strain of influenza that made its debut early in mid-April 2009. With the upcoming seasonal changes, H1N1 is expected to make another appearance as it spreads from person to person worldwide. Are you prepared for this pandemic?

The following list contains information that ranges from tracking maps to national and international news sources to resource centers and more. Each link within each category is listed in alphabetical order to show that we do not favor one set of tracking tools over another. If you are concerned about H1N1 at a local level, visit the Centers for Disease Control, which has a page that includes a list of all state sites that focus on H1N1 news and information.

Tracking Maps

  1. 2009 Swine Flu H1N1 Outbreak and Migration Map: This map highlights reported cases (both confirmed and unconfirmed) and the routes those cases traveled between home and vacation / business where they apparently contracted the strain.
  2. Explore flu trends around the world: Google discovered a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Google Flu Trends uses this aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity up to two weeks faster than traditional systems.
  3. FluTracker: Dr. Henry Niman, a biomedical researcher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, used technology provided by Rhiza Labs and Google to create this map. The map is compiled using data from official sources, news reports and user-contributions and updated multiple times per day.
  4. Global Swine Flu: This map, similar to the Heat Map mentioned below, creates hot spots represented by raster tiles on Virtual Earth and rendered through a Flash interface. This map also includes pins indicating flu outbreaks.
  5. Google Maps’ H1N1 Swine Flu: This was the original Google Maps H1N1 flu tracker, which now has been moved to the FluTracker site noted above. The last update was 2 May 2009.
  6. H1N1 Swine Flu Heat Map: UMapper built out a version of H1N1 data, which overlays raster tiles on Virtual Earth and renders it through a Flash interface. This map gets updated a few times per day.
  7. Health Map: HealthMap brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. To check just for influenza-related news, check only the box that says “influenza” under “Diseases, last 30 days.” You also can follow this map through Twitter or download an app for your iPhone.
  8. New England Journal of Medicine Influenza A (H1N1 = “Swine Flu”) Reports: Official data is obtained from CDC and WHO daily Influenza A (H1N1) updates. Informal data sources are a subset of reports from the HealthMap database. The case numbers shown are cumulative counts. As of mid-July, reports are no longer available from official channels, however.

National and International News Updates

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: This news information is especially pertinent for people who travel, as the CDC relays information on major outbreaks across the world and determines whether or not an area is safe for U.S. citizen travel. This information also is available as an RSS feed.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2009 H1N1 Flu Situation Update: The CDC also offers specific information on the H1N1, with advice, news, maps and more that can help you apprise your situation.
  3. Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy Novel H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu): CIDRAP is created by the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, and offers breaking news on H1N1.
  4. CNN H1N1: Follow news, worldwide concerns, test your knowledge and learn about H1N1 activity in the U.S.
  5. Create Google News Alerts: If you don’t have a Google account, create one, and if you have an account, you can go to the Google News pages and create alerts about “H1N1” and/or “Swine Flu” to arrive in your email box or RSS reader. You can choose between H1N1 news or Swine Flu news.
  6. Flu.gov: This is your one-stop access to U.S. Government H1N1, avian and pandemic flu information. This site targets consumers, professionals, caregivers and more. They also have information on a state-by-state basis.
  7. World Health Organization: The WHO presents updates on the most recent news items regarding disease outbreaks on this page. Use their RSS feed if you prefer.

Resource Centers

  1. Business Continuity: Gartner Blog Network offers a special section on how H1N1 may affect businesses and organizations, including topics such as pandemic planning.
  2. H5N1: This blog carries information about all pandemic influenza, and their link resources cover H1N1, avian flu and more.
  3. MedScape Today’s H1N1 Influenza A (Swine Flu) Alert Center: Stay up-to-date on the latest vaccine information, news about H1N1 and insights from experts on this flu.
  4. The Lancet’s H1N2 Flu Resource Centre: The Lancet’s H1N1 Resource Centre is the result of a collaborative effort by the editors of over 40 Elsevier-published journals and eleven learned societies who have agreed to make freely available any relevant content on this site. Register for site updates.
  5. WebMD’s Swine Flu Guide: Look to this site for breaking news, medical facts and practical advice on H1N1

Information from Other Countries

  1. European Center for Disease Prevention and Control: The European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) was established in 2005 to strengthen Europe’s defenses against infectious diseases. This link leads to their H1N1 portion of the site.
  2. Health Protection Agency: Look to the UK to provide information about “Swine Influenza.” This site has advice for the public, healthcare professionals and the media.
  3. Influenza A (H1N1 Swine Flu): New Zealand offers this site that displays signs and symptoms, how to care for yourself and others, and a preparedness kit. They also supply news and updates for their country.
  4. Resources and Links: Offered by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, this site offers news, answers to questions, guidelines for officials and more.
  5. Swine Flu in Canada – Information Sources: This site provides insight into Canada’s outlook on H1N1, with news, flu tracking maps and even U.S. information.
Linda