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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tracking swine flu activity

From the Government Documents department...

An excellent compilation of government documents covering the Swine Flu outbreak of 1976 is available here thanks to Daniel Cornwall at the Alaska State Library. This list of sources is also available on his page on WorldCat.org. Included are Congressional documents (bills, reports, hearings) that address some the same issues we are facing with the current outbreak -- very interesting! Many of these documents are available in full text (PDF) on Congressional Universe, which is available on the Library tab in Stanley. Please see the reference librarian for assistance in accessing these documents.

A librarian at Bowling Green State University has posted a library guide about The Swine Flu Scare of 1976. Sources for further exploration are included. Also, don't forget the check the CDC website for up-to-date information, including this page dedicated to coverage of the swine flu outbreak and this guide to proper handwashing.

Google has created an interesting resource that harnesses the power of its search engine to track trends in the spread of swine flu. Google analyzes popular search terms and the geographic origins of queries that are thought to indicate flu activity. See especially Experimental Flu Trends for Mexico. During past flu seasons, Google was able to accurately estimate the pattern of outbreak even before published CDC reports were released. The CDC is also teaming up with Twitter, using the power of real-time, online social networks to track the flu and disseminate information about the progress of the illness.