iPhone Application Allows User to Track H1N1 Flu Outbreaks

A new iPhone application called "Outbreaks Near Me" that allows users to track and report local outbreaks of infectious disease was released Tuesday.

Developed by researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and the MIT Media Lab, the application combines the GPS system of the iPhone with outbreak tracking information from HealthMap.org, a web prowling system that mines official and unofficial Internet data sources for information on outbreaks of emerging, infectious diseases.

In the latest use of the Internet and social media to counter the flu and infectious diseases, researchers from MIT and Harvard said Tuesday that iPhone users have a new means of monitoring the spread of swine flu and other disease outbreaks.

The new iPhone application, "Outbreaks Near Me," attempts to track the spread of flu outbreaks by monitoring social media and news reports online, using an existing resource called HealthMap, started in 2006. The app is a joint venture between MIT's Media Lab and Children's Hospital Boston.