Ten Things I Think I Think about H1N1

I haven’t posted on H1N1 in a bit; honestly, I haven’t known what to think.  So, in homage to Peter King, here’s ten things I think I think about H1N1 today:

1.  Still, don’t panic.  Be Living Prepared for H1N1.  Read on.

2. Veratect on 5/15/09 announced the end of a valuable public service:

Due to the transition of surveillance and reporting on influenza A (H1N1) towards routine seasonal influenza tracking, Veratect will cease providing Twitter posts for this event as of 8:00p EST, May 15, 2009.

This is a shame.  I’m not certain that we have reached the end of this outbreak; nor whether routine seasonal influenza surveillance is sufficient, but I do understand that this was costing Veratect quite a bit to stand up two command centers and provide 24×7 coverage.

Also, note that a record blog posting by InSTEDD refers to this outbreak as the “Influenza A (H1N1) Media Hype”

3.  I’ve aggregated those official twitter feeds on H1N1 that I find most useful into my own H1N1 feed, @LP_H1N1.  This pulls from the @whonews, three CDC feeds, @birdflugov, and I think @healthmap.  I’ll add others if the situation warrants it, but for now, I think it’s good.  You can follow @LP_H1N1 directly or you’ll find the feed running in the column on the left or subscribe to the RSS for that feed directly.

4.  There are now 12 fatalities in the US out of 6500+ cases.  That’s a mortality rate of about .18%, really nothing to worry about.  The mortality rate of the cases in Mexico, where this virus originated, is about 1.9%, which would be something to worry about if the virus continued to spread exponentially throughout the world’s population.  However, according to the latest WHO figures, the global mortality rate (outside of Mexico) is about .17%.

Now, I am not an epidemiologist, but to me this suggests that as the H1N1 virus has spread, it has become less lethal as it has mutated.

5.  I’ve been trying to determine whether the spread of H1N1 infection is growing exponentially or linearly.  Obviously, if exponential, the infection rate is high enough to warrant concern.   And it appears that with the best public health infrastructure in the world, the growth of H1N1 in the US continues to be exponential while in the rest of the world, not so much – especially in Mexico, where this strain all started and has clearly now leveled off.  There’s a number of charts out there that show this.  Here is one.

6.  In doing this research, I came across a disturbing blog posting that, because I am unsure of the source’s credentials, I will not cite here.  However, the math is somewhat frightening. Based on confirmed data (cases and deaths) through early May, a mortality rate of close to 3% was being measured.  With an infection rate of 1.47% (again, measured average based on confirmed data), the spread of H1N1 and resulting deaths would look like this:

  • By 5/22/09 – almost 1 million infected globally; # of deaths assuming 3% mortality rate = 28,000; assuming .5% = 4,700
  • By 5/29/09 – 13 million infected, 250K+ dead at 3% mortality rate; 66K dead at .5% mortality rate
  • By 6/13/09 – over 3.8 billion infected, 116 million dead at 3% mortality rate; and almost 20 million dead at .5% mortality rate

However, according to the latest WHO figures, as of 5/25/09, there are only 12,515 cases globally with 91 deaths (and 80 of those in Mexico).

So, obviously, this scenario is not coming to pass, as clearly the calculated infection rate is not what we are observing.  And note that the .5% mortality rate I believe is the figure from the 1918 Spanish flu.  The .17% mortality rate measured globally (excluding the Mexican figures) is about the same as seasonal influenza; from that perspective, maybe Veratect was justified.

But essentially, what this means is, don’t panic.

7.  I am highly satisfied (make that thrilled) with the President’s choice of NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Friedan to head the CDC.  Dr. Friedan has done a great job at leading the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, overseeing the largest and best public health infrastructure of any City in the world.  I had the opportunity to consult with their Bureau of Emergency Management on a project to review the City’s bio-incident response plan and briefed the Commissioner personally on our findings just about a year ago.  I found him to be focused, strategic in his thinking, and a calm, motivating and highly effective leader.  He has the energy and the track record to head up the CDC and I’m confident will do a great job with the H1N1 and future challenges.

8.  I’m attending the Long-Island – New York City Emergency Management Conference this week and I am anxious to hear what the State, City, and surrounding counties have to say about how their pandemic response plans may need to change given the H1N1 experience.  I am also looking forward to sections about logistics (my specialty) and the weather, as I also worked on a project supporting the City’s Coastal Storm Plan.  Expect some blog posts live from the event!

9.  Current WHO Map of H1N1 influenza cases:

GlobalSubnationalMaster_20090525_1000

WHO has a timeline of influenza A (H1N1) that provides a really cool flash application that lets you scroll through these maps on a daily basis to monitor the spread of H1N1, starting with the latest map.  It’s my click of the day!

10.  These are my non-H1N1 thoughts of the day, and again, in homage of Peter King, they will be all-sports related:

  • I can’t believe the Red Sox lose 2/3 to the Mets, and 5/10, with Big Papi not hitting anything, and still ending up in first place.
  • I got cheated out of watching the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday by rain; then by sun on Monday afternoon (we took the kids to the park), and again by rain in Charlotte on Monday evening.  Good for you David Reutimann for being the first to figure out to stay out during the last caution when rain was threatening!  But I think NASCAR has to change the rule that if rain ends an event that was running under caution, the final standings should go back to the last green flag lap – and not the order after pit stops run under yellow.
  • Go Magic!  Any team that barely beats the Celtics (without KG) has to go all the way…. though I have a feeling this is Denver’s year.  (Did I really say that?)
  • So if BB can’t sign Jason Taylor, trade for Julius Peppers, draft an OLB, while losing ILB rookie Tyrone McKenzie for the season I think it is time to mess up everyone else’s preparation for the Pats D and switch to the 4-3 as the primary set and have Mayo and Thomas play outside with Bruschi in the middle.

That’s it for now.  Keep Living Prepared for H1N1!

UPDATE: Never Leave Home Without…

I always intended to write a summary and concluding piece to the list of 10 things you should never leave home without.  Coming a couple of months after the last post was written lends perspective to the exercise.  The intent of this blog was always to validate that the advice given is practical.  If I can’t practice what I preach, then I need to rethink again what it is I am recommending here.  In addition, the perspective of the current “concern” over Influenza A – H1N1 (Swine Flu) and a change in season to Spring adds another valuable reality check.

So, here’s my item-by-item review of the list and how I’ve done with it and how I feel the utility of these items holds up:

Bag (Empty)

There is no question in my mind that an empty bag belongs on the list and at the top of it – alphabetical or not.  I have struggled at times to remember to bring one with me.  Honestly, the larger eco-totes that I recommended – like the Staples eco-easy tote, do not fold down to a size that fits in a pocket.  You really need to have another bag to put an empty one in.

Kiva Keychain Backpack

Kiva Keychain Backpack 1/2 size of Wallet

The bag I mentioned in the original post but had not tried out yet – the Kiva Keychain Backpack – is really an excellent solution.  It packs down to an incredibly small size (about half the size of my wallet) that fits in a (front) pants pocket easily.  I try to carry one of these bags with me all the time in that way.  When expanded, it forms a smallish backpack – certainly large enough to carry several items in an emergency, and the material (like parachute nylon) seems pretty strong and durable.  The only issue I’ve had with it is that if you put some heavier items in it, the adjustable shoulder straps tend to slip, but there is no risk of it opening and the bag dropping as it is a closed loop strap.

Flashlight

Maybe it’s just me, but I still find a reason to need a flashlight on a daily basis and I carry two Photon LED flashlights with me all the time – one on my keys and another on a chain around my neck.  I’ve been using the newer Photon Freedom-style lights, and I like the push button on-off much better than the old style (either hold it down or flick a tiny toggle switch to keep it lighted).

LRI Photon X-Light

LRI Photon X-Light

Honestly, the cheapest X-Light micro (at under $10) is sufficient.  So I repeat my advice to get a bunch of these – and pass them around – attach one to your briefcase, regular backpack, go-bag, etc., give one or two to each family member.  It will help you and them to be Living Prepared.

Glasses/Sunglasses

Never leave home without them.  And if I do, I always end up regretting it.  The other day, I was getting out of my car; it was raining.  I had a hat on, as I always do, with my sunglasses perched on the top, as they usually are when I’m not wearing them.  A man walking his dog was passing by, and he paused as he looked at me to comment, “With the hat and the sunglasses, you are ready for anything.”  Amen.

LifeSecure Safety Glasses

LifeSecure Eye Shields

Mindful of the fear of Influenza A – H1N1 (Swine Flu) many people have, protecting your eyes with glasses (sun or clear) or a eye shield can help prevent you from being infected by particulates spewed into the air by people close by who cough or sneeze in your general direction.  I recently ordered some Eye Shields from LifeSecure Emergency Solutions to keep with my household emergency supplies.

Keys

Keys.  Enough said.  Just try going out without them.

I did figure out that two of the small lock keys actually fit the padlock on the cellar hatch outside the front of my house – so one of those has been returned to my keychain.

Smartphone

Still attached to my hip.  Still without a GPS.  I think the GPS functionality that is available is useful, but expensive (both for a GPS-enabled Blackberry and for the service that gives it functionality), and I can’t justify it at the current time.

Stainless Steel Drink Container

Usually still attached to my hand – with tea in the morning, and increasingly a Klean Kanteen for water in the afternoon as the weather is getting warmer.  (We had a mini-heat wave of several days in the high 80s/low 90s in April in NYC).  It’s honestly hard to bring along sometimes without having a bag (not an empty one) to carry it in.

I’m beginning to think of recommending carrying a “mostly” empty bag with you – which provides a means to carry along those items that otherwise do not fit on your face or in your pockets – such as a drink container.  That solves a lot of problems of bulging pockets – especially in the summertime…

My regular backpack I keep stocked with a number of useful items – such as a couple of pens, a folding knife with serrated blade, some Zyrtec (for allergies), and epi-pen (if the allergies get really bad), a larger LED flashlight.  I put a glass case in it to carry whatever pair of glasses (sun or clear) I am not wearing.  If I go out without this backpack, I still have my 10 items with me.

My biggest problem with my double-walled, vacuum insulated Thermos hot drink container is that it does too good a job at keeping my tea hot.  I like my hot drinks warm, not scalding, and it takes hours for my tea to cool enough such that I can enjoy it.  When I have the opportunity, I leave the top off to let it cool down so I can drink it more quickly.  On the plus side, this has cut down dramatically on my caffeine intake, which is probably a good thing.

Swiss Army Knife / Multi-Tool

I still use this multiple times every day and would be totally lost without it.  Just yesterday I used the scissors to cut a reply form off to return to my daughter’s school, the Phillips head screwdriver to replace a battery in my son’s toy train, the small knife to open a package received in the main from Lands End, and the magnifying glass to read the small print on a label.  Oh yeah, and I used the reamer to make an additional hole in a belt I have (I lost 15 pounds due to the chicken pox and some of my clothes are hanging off of me now!)

One reader recommended a different model – that’s a bit less expensive but still has all of the important survival tools.  For me, I use all of the tools on the Swiss Army Champ – including the tweezers – which I’ve used twice in the last week to remove a splinter from my finger and my daughter’s foot.  I even used the pin within the last week to help open up a bottle of Gorilla Glue that had crusted over.

Vehicle Escape Tool

As noted in the original post, this is something you don’t use on a daily basis, and I’ve never used mine.

I did have the opportunity to demonstrate the functions of the ResQMe that I carry on my keychain to two very nice gentlemen from the TSA at JFK Airport, just before I handed it over to them before getting on a flight to Florida a few weeks ago.  I kind of had to tell them that they should be taking it away from me – both because of the seat-belt cutter blade, which although shielded, could be removed from the casing by breaking it open – thus weaponizing it – as well as for the glass breaker, which, although I am not sure it would break an airplane window pane, I would not want to try.  So I was without a ResQMe while deathly ill from the Chicken Pox in Florida.

I got another one out of my stock and have returned it to my keychain.

Wallet

Again, it goes without saying that you need to carry your wallet with you when you go out.

What I need to report on is how I’ve done with keeping the $100 cash in it and not pilfer it when I run out.  I must report positively that I’ve had great success.  I positively have forgotten that I folded up 5 twenty dollar bills and slid it into a side slot behind the credit cards in my wallet – unless I’m thinking about this post.  The credit cards, ID and proof of insurance are easy to maintain.

Whistle

Again, something I don’t use on a daily basis but am glad to have with me.  Mostly, I wear it on a lanyard underneath a shirt – but if visible, it’s a good conversation starter.  As pictures in the original post, I also use the neck lanyard to carry a Photon LED flashlight and a USB drive – which another reader also suggested carrying.  My SanDisk Cruzer holds a ridiculous 16 GB of data.

Honestly, the neck lanyard can be bulky either on top of or underneath a single layer T-shirt when the weather is hot.  So I have honestly gone out from time to time without it.  It’s an item that can be put in your briefcase, backpack or other bag that you carry things in (or the proposed “almost” empty bag alternative), and it also fits into a pants pocket.  So while I try to wear it habitually – I must admit to forgetting it occasionally.

What’s Missing?

USB Drive:

For the digitally inclined and data dependent, a USB drive – the larger the better, is a good thing to carry with you.  I carry one and will load it up with important files from time to time.  More often, it’s used for exchanging data (photos, files) with someone.  In an emergency situation, if you work with computers at all, having a USB drive with you could be extremely valuable.

My Fox40 Classic Whistle (in cool camo-color), Photon Freedom LED flashlight, and SanDisk Cruzer on neck lanyard

My Fox40 Classic Whistle (in cool camo-color), Photon Freedom LED flashlight, and SanDisk Cruzer on neck lanyard

So if it fits your personal and professional profile, a USB drive is definitely something to consider adding to your list of things to never leave home without.  I do like the SanDisk Cruzer because it contains software to allow you to install and run applications directly off of the drive rather than having to install it on the hard drive of a computer.  So, for example, you can use your Skype account from any computer you can use and plug your drive into, if you have Skype installed on the USB drive.

Hand Sanitizer:

This probably should have been on the original list.  Very useful for cleaning your hands while you are out – especially after riding on public transportation or before eating anything on the go. Also essential to have if you are out with kids.  I usually have a bottle with a pump around the house, but decided to stock up a but because of H1N1.  The 2-oz. bottle size is really convenient for taking with you and I got one for everyone in the family.  The small bottles cost about a dollar at any drugstore and I plan to refill them from the larger (and more economical) bottles I have in the house – especially one big one by the front door so everyone can use it upon entering the house.  When buying Hand Sanitizer, remember to always check the “drug facts” on the bottle to ensure that it contains at least 60% ethyl alcohol.  Any less and it will not be effective as an antiseptic.

Pocket Hand Sanitizer and Tissues

Pocket Hand Sanitizer and Tissues

Pocket Pack of Tissues:

Another item inspired by H1N1, I think this item also belongs on the original list.  Tissues are incredibly useful things, even if you or your kids do not have a cold.  They can be used to wipe up things, or wipe off things that you don’t want to touch with your bare hands as they may be dirty or infected.  (Use hand sanitizer afterward anyways).  You can use tissues to dry or clean off your glasses if they get wet (though a glass cleaning cloth is better and won’t leave link on the lenses).  Like water, or bags, tissues have hundreds of potential uses during times of emergency and normalcy.

Summary and Conclusion:

I feel pretty strongly about the original 10 items on this list… and now I’m up to 13 with the USB drive, hand sanitizer and pocket pack of tissues.  I started out this project by stating that I didn’t like top 10 lists and I wasn’t going to be bound by a number; that it was a starting point and an important attempt to place some limit on a list that if it becomes exhaustive becomes less practical and less achievable.  And making this practical and achievable is a key part of what I am trying to accomplish with this blog.

I am still tracking a few challenges with the list.

Mostly, it’s a lot of stuff to stuff into your pockets (keys, wallet, extra bag, hand sanitizer, tissues, flashlight) – especially in the warm weather – or wear around your neck (USB drive, flashlight, whistle), hang on your belt (smart phone, Swiss army knife), or hold in your hand (stainless steel drink container).

A lot of this can be carried alternatively in a backpack, briefcase or other (not empty) bag that you carry with you.  Many of us do carry such bags when we go out – but not every time.  My concern is having these items on your person is that they are always with you – and never left at home.

Changing the empty bag to a “mostly” empty bag – or empty of everything but these 12 or 13 items – may be a solution – as long as you always take this mostly empty bag with you.  I will report in a couple of months on how I am addressing this challenge, and will reconsider again the list of items never to leave home without.

In conclusion, I hope that these posts have proven useful to your own thinking about how you should be Living Prepared™.  I am not so arrogant as to think that everyone has to follow my advice to the letter.  I hope that you learn from my advice and my experience and make it your own.

Get Ready for Unnecessary Panic

The World Health Organization is considering to raise the Pandemic Alert level to 6 – the highest level – indicating a global pandemic.

Don’t Panic.

According to WHO:

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

WHO Pandemic Influenza Phases

Click to zoom

The amount of human-to-human and community-level outbreaks in several countries in different WHO regions clearly makes this decision reasonable.  After all, Phase 5 requires the spread of the disease to only two countries in one WHO region.

H1N1 Number of Laboratory Confirmed Cases - May 3, 2009

Click to zoom

Are we panicking yet?

Heck no!

Just last night, Mexico was reporting that the spread of H1N1 was beginning to decline.  There is still no evidence of community spread outside of the United States and Mexico, only cases related to travel, and the morbidity and mortality rates are reasonable for seasonal influenza.  This may hold back WHO’s decision to move to alert level 6.

The latest WHO Press Briefing that addresses these issues is available here:

4 May 2009 Press Briefing by WHO’s Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General ai, Health Security and Environment

I predict this signals the beginning of the end.

Living Prepared for H1N1

Ok, I admit it.  I believe it is important to be Living Prepared™ for the Influenza A H1N1 virus, and that means I’ve had to stock up on some items that I haven’t had on hand.  I still believe in Don’t Panic first and foremost, but given the warnings of the planet’s leading health authorities, it would be foolish to not take this seriously.

Now, I haven’t gotten the chance yet to blog about recommended household emergency supplies yet, so will do a lot of that on the fly and we’ll reconvene on those issues in coming posts.  And we should also review the list of things that one should never leave home without, as during a declared pandemic (alert level 5), which we are now facing, there are one or two additions to this list that come to mind – i.e. hand sanitizer and tissues.

Sanity Check

But to return to a sanity check -I wanted to comment on the most recent facts about the H1N1 / Swine Flu outbreak.

This morning, I received a notice from my daughter’s school, explaining how the school was responding to the Swine Influenza outbreak.  I sent the following note back to school parents in response:

As an emergency management professional, I consulted just over a year ago with the City’s Department of Health & Mental Hygiene to review the City’s bio-incident response plan and found an extremely high skill level of individuals at the agency, which is well-prepared and fully capable of protecting the health of the residents of this City through its biosurveillance program, health lab and relationship with CDC.

There is no need to panic.  Flu spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics annually, infecting millions and resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands annually.  According to the CDC:

Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
  • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications; and
  • about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

Despite the attention and concern over the H1N1 virus, I don’t feel that there is any evidence yet that this strain is particularly dangerous or spreading throughout the general population.  The latest global statistics (as compiled by the World Health Organization on April 30, 2009) are this:  There are 11 countries that have officially reported 257 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection.  There are only 97 confirmed cases in Mexico, with 7 deaths, and 109 confirmed cases in the US, with 1 death.  CDC and WHO expect the virus to continue to spread and for more confirmed cases to become known as lab results are completed, but in the context of seasonal flu, again, there is no need to panic.

According to a May 1 AP article, Mexico has now raised the confirmed swine flu death toll from 15 to 16, with a total confirmed number of cases of 397.

There are now more than 400 schools closed in the USThe U.S. Department of Education has said that 433 schools are closed, affecting 245,000 children in 17 states.  All this precaution for 140 confirmed U.S. cases as of today.  Really?  Are we panicking now?

H1N1 Info from NYC.gov

Two more excellent source of information about protecting yourself from Influenza came out today from the City of New York.  (I tweeted on this earlier today).  First, the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH) released the following document for employers: Guidance for Preventing Transmission of H1N1 Influenza in the Workplace.  Also, the City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has posted PDF versions of the recently released Ready New York Pandemic Flu guide (available in 14 languages) on its website.

H1N1 Preparedness

Back to the main topic, that is Living Prepared™ for the Influenza A H1N1 virus.

I’ve recently done some online and in store procurement of items I did not have in stock.  As mentioned in previous posts, we’re currently undergoing a renovation of our brownstone and my household emergency stocks are seriously depleted or in storage.  So I am somewhat having to start from scratch in building my household emergency supplies.  This is not good.

Anyway, I decided to order from LifeSecure Emergency Solutions the following:

  • N95 Respirator Facemasks (though I’ve become convinced that these are fairly useless; I’ll get to that in a coming post)
  • Hand & Surface Sanitizer (you can never have enough of this)
  • Eye Shield Protection Pack (2 frames, a bunch of clear lenses; I have clear glasses but wanted an extra and for spouse)
  • Antimicrobial Wipes (you can never have enough of these either)
  • Food bars

By the way, LifeSecure’s David Scott has recently blogged a fine article on H1N1 preparedness that everyone should read.

At local pharmacies and grocery stores, I have picked up:

  • Additional hand sanitizer (Purell or any equivalent of over 60% alcohol content) in various bottle sizes
  • Foaming hand wash (Method)
  • Lysol spray (mostly for my smelly cat’s litter box, but also for surface and general disinfecting)
  • Disinfecting surface wipes

I’m still short on bottled water – though I haven’t quite figured out how H1N1 is going to affect adversely the public water supply… but I need to get enough for my family of four for three days at least.  A trip to Costco is on order for the next few days.

So am I Living Prepared™ for the Influenza A H1N1 virus now?

More updates to follow.

UPDATE: Twitter Feeds on H1N1 / Swine Flu

Last month, I blogged about the use of twitter to push out information about emergency alerts and general preparedness information by a number of official (governmental and non-governmental organization) sources such as FEMA, CDC, the Red Cross and others.

Today, the utility of twitter to push out current and accurate information about emergencies has been proven in my mind, by the excellent coverage of the H1N1 / Swine Flu outbreak on twitter.

So much so that it prompted me to apply a new theme to this blog to add a third column, such that I could post twitter feeds from some of the best sources of information about the H1N1 / Swine Flu pandemic on this site.  Check them out on the left.  The latest five tweets from government sources, non-governmental organizations and a couple of the better media sources listed below will be posted on this site.

I also set up a twitter account called LP_SwineFlu to follow the feeds I’ve found to be reputable and reliable sources of information about the H1N1 / Swine Flu outbreak, but have yet to find a way to combine those into a single public feed I could post on this site (twitter requires login authorization to view the RSS feed of an accounts tweets plus tweets of those it is following).  I would appreciate any solutions others have found to this.  If there was an auto-retweet bot (discussed by seemingly unavailable) – that would solve 95% of the problem.

Until then, I’ve selected some of the best feeds to put on this site.

Essential Sources of H1N1 Information:

Government Sources:

whonews – from the World Health Organization.  WHO news releases related to H1N1 / Swine Flu as well as general public health information news and information are being tweeted here.

BirdFluGov – feed from official US government pan-agency pandemic flu site – http://www.pandemic flu.gov  – one-stop access to U.S. Government swine, avian and pandemic fly information.

CDCemergency – from the Centers for Disease Control Emergency Preparedness and Response division – this feed is providing the most regular updates from CDC.

H1N1Info – this may be a private effort – but is pulling all emergency updates exclusively from CDC Swine Flu page.

CDC_eHealth – from the Centers for Disease Control interactive media group – provides links to videos and podcasts related to H1N1 / Swine Flu as well as general public health information.

CDCFlu – from the Centers for Disease Control -general flu public information feed on prevention & vaccination; supposed to be providing updates from CDC Swine Flu RSS feed but is not yet actively posting H1N1 updates.

Non-Governmental Organization Sources:

Veratect – A private company that is providing the earliest detection of new information on H1N1 / Swine flu. This feed provides real-time output on the swine flu situation translated by their two operations centers from 37 languages globally.  This feed is providing some of the best, most accurate and up-to-date information about confirmed and suspected cases of H1N1 globally.

Healthmap – a public website bringing together disparate data sources (these are the tweets) to achieve a unified view of the current global state of infectious disease.  Check out their swine flu map – it’s better than the google mashup I posted earlier.

News Organizations Sources:

BreakingNews – the best source on twitter period for accurate global breaking news events coverage.  Anazingly accurate and always minutes, hours and sometimes days ahead of other news organizations on breaking news.

sanjayguptaCNN – CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta

cbshealth – the latest health news from CBSNews.com

msnbc_health – health, diet and nutrition news from msnbc.com

I would appreciate referrals to any other good sources of H1N1 information on twitter from similar sources.  I’m leaving out the private efforts of individuals as it is hard to verify their qualifications; most are reposting news stories from these and other sources.

CDC-TV Put Your Hands Together Video

If you are worried about swine flu, be sure to wash your hands regularly (and carry some hand sanitizer with you). The above video from the CDC is a great instructional video about how to protect yourself from illness through good hygiene habits, especially through effective hand-washing.

Swine Flu 2009 – the Map

Courtesy of Google Maps and poached from my friend’s blog, The Road to the Horizon: Here are the cases of the H1N1 Swine flu infections (in 2009).

Pink markers are suspect
Purple markers are confirmed
Deaths lack a dot in marker
Yellow markers are negative