H1N1 and seasonal influenza beware – new heroes have arrived, ready to defend the population and fight a viral battle, via Facebook, in the form of ‘Flu Fighters!’
Developed by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a new Facebook application called “I’m a Flu Fighter!” gives you the opportunity to mobilize and take action against the threat of influenza – by telling your friends that you got the H1N1/seasonal flu vaccine and encouraging them to do the same. Launching as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week, the app also provides information on influenza – including a flu vaccine locator – courtesy of HHS’s Flu.gov.
The app is garnering high profile attention and was even plugged on the White House blog on Saturday by Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius.
Third on the list of the Huffington Post’s Top 10 Medical Research Trends to Watch in 2010, is “the Health Internet,” the brain child of Isaac Kohane and Ken Mandl, from Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP).
Last fall, a group of leading thinkers and entrepreneurs from a variety of sectors gathered to discuss an idea that originated with Harvard’s Isaac Kohane and Ken Mandl — the development of an “iPhone-like platform” for health information technology (HIT), a more open and flexible approach than the architecture currently being contemplated, and one that holds greater promise for creating a consumer-oriented “Health Internet.” Obama Administration officials pledged at the meeting to have a pilot effort launched that could have real-time patient data accessible online this year.
The Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP) has been instrumental in connecting the public with health care issues through technology. CHIP created HealthMap, a website, blog and an iPhone app that tracks disease outbreaks in real-time. We featured their weekly H1N1 tracking updates over the last several months here on Thrive.
This is the second of what will be weekly H1N1 updates from the HealthMap team of the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program.
- A new study in the journal Science says vaccinating students should be a priority this year. CHIP researcher John Brownstein, PhD, was quoted this week in an AP story about the study.
- This week, World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 1,799 people have died from H1N1 worldwide.
- South Korea, Japan, Ghana, Madagascar, Yemen, Malta, New Caledonia (France), Kuwait, and Cook Islands each reported their first H1N1 fatalities. French Polynesia reported its first death, but diagnostic tests performed in France raised questions about the validity of this report.
- The Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Belarus each reported their first confirmed H1N1 case.
- In the United States, federal officials urged businesses to prepare for a resurgence in swine flu. Recommendations included flexible sick leave, cross-training individuals with mission critical tasks, limiting face-to-face meetings and travel and encouraging hand washing.
For the upcoming influenza season, the team from HealthMap, within the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, are introducing a weekly summary of H1N1 (swine flu) news highlights. These will be posted on Fridays and will cover the preceding week.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the global confirmed swine flu case count was rapidly approaching 200,000.