The world has been watching and preparing and trying to prevent a pandemic from an avian influenza reservoir
Luxemburg (PRWEB) May 4, 2009
As the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control struggle to get news out to the general public on Swine Flu, private software and Internet news companies are creating Web 2.0 social networking tools to reach millions.
The Internet news distribution organization Feedzilla.com has created a Swine Flu news widget which updates critical news and information from WHO, CDC and reliable news organizations 24/7 to help answer the public's many questions such as: "how can I protect myself, what can I do to prevent spreading swine flu and where did the latest outbreaks occur?
The Feedzilla Swine Flu news widget, the first widget created for the Swine Flu virus, is receiving over 4 million views per day from over a 100,000 Websites, Internet blogs and forums.
Widgets are interactive software computer desktop virtual tools that provide single-purpose services such as showing the user the latest news, the current weather, the time, a calendar, a dictionary, a map program, a calculator, desktop notes, photo viewers, or even a language translator, among other things.
Feedzilla's Swine Flu widget entitled - "Help Stop the Flu" is available now for easy installation on any Website or blog to keep the general public informed at all times.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the new strain of Swine Flu H1N1 influenza has spread to over 30 US states and has infected over 1000 people. The CDC previously had confirmed 160 cases in 21 states.
New York has the most cases with 63, many linked to a school in Queens. Texas has 40 cases. One person has died, a toddler who was visiting Texas from Mexico.
CDC acting Director Dr. Richard Besser has said repeatedly he expects to see more cases in the United States as screening for the new flu strain continues.
A member of the WHO's Pandemic Influenza Taskforce which yesterday decided to raise the alert level over swine flu, said 40% of the UK population could be infected if the country is hit by a pandemic.
The never-before-seen virus was created when genes from pig, bird and human viruses mixed together inside a pig. Experts fear the virus that has gone from humans back into pigs in at least one case could mutate further before crossing back into humans again. But no one can predict what will happen.
"Could it gain virulence? Yes," Juan Lubroth, an animal health expert at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, said Sunday. "It could also become milder. It could go in both directions."
Unlike the H5N1 bird flu virus, which infects the blood, organs and tissue of poultry, most swine flus are confined to the respiratory tract, meaning the risk of a human getting infected by a pig is "probably 10 or a 1,000 times less," Lubroth said.
But pigs are of special concern because they share some basic biological similarities with humans, and they have served as "mixing vessels" in which various flu strains have swapped genetic material. That's what happened to create the current swine flu strain.
Dr. Tim Uyeki, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has worked on SARS and bird flu outbreaks, said: "The world has been watching and preparing and trying to prevent a pandemic from an avian influenza reservoir," he said.
"The focus has been on birds, and here is a virus that's coming from a swine reservoir. Now it's a human virus."
The virulent Spanish flu of 1918 spread to all parts of the world, infecting as many as a third of the global population. Around 40 million people are thought to have died from the illness.
Research firm Gartner estimates that an actual pandemic could cause absenteeism rates of 40 percent or higher for the enterprise and smaller businesses. Hundreds of schools throughout the US, Mexico and Europe have already closed for a temporary period.
"IT managers should meet with senior executives, line-of-business managers and other high-level decision-makers to answer any questions should be made aware of the seriousness of this pandemic preparation," Roberta Witty, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "IT managers should plan, test and add capacity to ensure the sustainability of what is likely to be a predominantly work-at-home environment."
"Feedzilla's main focus is on prevention and containment," said Feedzilla CEO Assaf Suprasky.
"The only weapons we all have are prevention and information as a vaccine will not be ready for months. The specific news widget on Swine Flu contains all pertinent information regarding one's country of residence or travel destination. From the US, Mexico, Canada and England to Russia, Japan, China and Brazil, an interactive world-map allows the user to access this information by just one click to any point on the map."
Graphics are supplied by D-LABS. Most importantly Feedzilla does not rely on information generated by various search engines but provides its users with updated content handpicked by 30 globally located professional editors.
The Feedzilla website was started in 2005 and has gained substantial experience over the last few years by providing content on a vast variety of subjects both on a global scale as well localized to specific countries. These news specific categories include top news, business, health, Internet, music, politics, science, sports, technology, travel, entertainment, lifestyle, academic, industry, finance, banking, automotive, movies, legal, human rights, celebrities, food, wine and society
Content providers include a large assortment of different media and company services. News and information are vetted and sorted by experienced Feedzilla editors 24 hours a day.
"Internet social networking, blogs and Web 2.0 Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and MySpace are playing a critical role today in disseminating life saving information," said Suprasky.
"The Feedzilla Swine Flu news widget compliments Facebook, Twitter, Google and other prominent Web 2.0 sites by introducing an application for tracking swine flu, the much-publicized pathogen that has killed dozens of people in Mexico and potentially infected hundreds more worldwide."
Suprasky adds: "Our goal is to bring the best news to every eyeball in the world for free, with full access to data. We are working on enhancing our content to make the widget more viral and friendly."
Feedzilla's CEO concludes: "The situation is worsening. It is a highly unstable one with indications that Swine Flu may not be as lethal and as devastating as it was first thought, but yet there is no cure or vaccine developed. Infections are increasing by the hour. Governments and their health agencies are not taking any risks. They are also weighing their words and expectations as they use crisis management tools to reduce panic. We are not out of the forest and many health care professionals believe that Swine Flu has not yet reached its peak. As such, Feedzilla will continue to report reliable real time news to millions world-wide as to what steps to take to prevent and contain this disease."