App Watch: A Mobile Swine Flu Tracker

The creators of HealthMap, a Web site that aggregates disease information world-wide, have created an iPhone application that lets consumers keep tabs on nearby outbreaks and submit reports of their own.

Outbreaks Near Me includes a map that is updated hourly with reports from more than 30,000 information sources. Users can sign up for alerts on specific diseases, such as swine flu, and see where outbreaks are occurring.

John Brownstein, an assistant professor at Children’s Hospital Boston and one of HealthMap’s creators, said the goal of the free app isn’t to spark panic about the H1N1 virus. “In no way are we trying to tell people not to go into certain areas,” he said. On the other hand, if a serious outbreak occurred, the app could help notify users and get information to them quickly.

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