The World: Entry 3 (April 11,2013)

The bird flu virus has claimed the lives of ten people in china. China is having a hard time counteracting the virus as it is hard to tell which birds are contaminated. Birds show no symptoms of the disease. Fortunately the disease is only spread from animal to person not person to person. According to the World, “Chinese officials are reporting 3-5 new human cases a day. Not everyone there believes in those statistics but challenging can land you in jail…some who question the tally are being detained”. I don’t personally believe that China is trying to cover anything up by detaining these people. I believe that they are trying to reduce panic. I feel that if this were happening here in America the government would be attempting to control any information that could not be verified as well. I think that the Chinese government is doing everything they can to contain this virus and prevent fear in its citizens.

Scientists have created new systems to help in the early stages of preventing a pandemic. Mappy Health is one of these systems. It scans Twitter statuses searching for key words that relate to disease. With these tweets a map of where certain outbreaks of disease are occurring and to some extent how many infected there may be. Another system is Google flu. This program counts the number of Goggle searches containing the word flu and gives an idea of how many people may have the flu in a particular area. While I think that this is a wonderful use of technology, some question the accuracy of this information. I feel that even if the information is somewhat in accurate it is at least a start for preventing an epidemic. Using tools like this decreases the amount of time it takes to discover an outbreak according to a study by a Harvard epidemiologist. I am comforted by these new ways to tackle diseases early on. I am happy to live in a time where the world has intelligent scientists to create vaccines & cures, and also utilize technology to assess the general public’s health.


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