Well, as far as I can tell, read & do all the normal stuff for staying healthy (you know, all the stuff Mom used to say – wash your hands, drink plenty of liquids, eat right & get plenty of sleep.) I heard about swine flu as I woke up yesterday morning listening to NPR, and the coverage of the “outbreak” seems to be spreading more virally than the virus itself. PubMed already has a special section of their homepage dedicated to swine flu info, with links to recent PubMed articles, a link to the swine flu sequence in NCBI’s Influenza Virus Resource, and a widget to CDC’s swine flu information page. Through one of the PubMed references I found a resource I had not heard of before – ESNIP2 – the European Surveillance Network for Influenza in Pigs. From the sequence report I could like to structures in NCBI‘s MMDB and from there to structures in RCSB PDB. From the CDC’s site I followed a link to an update from the World Health Organization which reported the number of cases and deaths in various world locations. I find it really cool to be able to link so freely between biological/health information resources, and be able to counter all the popular media frenzy with reports of real science. And the fear mongering seems to be just that, at least for now, because nothing that I’ve read so far indicates that swine flu is any more deadly or virulent than ‘normal’ seasonal flu – it is just a different virus than we normally see.
Yea, ok, we live in a small world where people move around and potentially spread diseases far and wide. But there is so much information at our finger tips – with an internet connection and a bit of knowledge where to look. I’ll continue to take my risks, travel, read science, and of course listen to Mom & wash my hands!
Addition (Trey): These are some great resources that Jennifer linked to. I’d like to include some additional general and genomic data too. I’ll add more as I find them:
Kristi at Bioinformatics@Becker (she’s here at Wash U where we are giving a seminar today) has a great post with links to many general and science links.
BioHealthBase has the swine flu strain genome details. BioHealthBase “provides a comprehensive genomic and proteomic data repository for five pathogenic organism groups that pose a threat to public health”