Website maps disease outbreak around the world - KMSP-TV

FOX Medical Team

Website maps disease outbreak around the world

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    It was a scene that had the whole world talking, two Ebola-infected American aid workers arriving at Emory University Hospital, in full protective gear.

   If this got you wondering how outbreaks unfold, Dr. Phyllis Kozarsky, Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at Emory School of Medicine says you may want to check out the website ""

    Dr. Kozarsky says, “Health map is actually a very interesting and extraordinary tool."

    The reason?  This website is constantly tracking outbreaks just about everywhere. Kozarsky explains, “It's a website where you can go and look at a map of anyplace in the world and see what's going on in terms of infectious disease outbreaks. And these folks update this on a 24/7 basis."

    And HealthMap doesn't just track human diseases - it tracks animal outbreaks - and illnesses passed back and forth between species.

   On one map of West Africa, you can watch the Ebola virus move, day by day - across four countries.  Dr. Kozarsky says,  "People always say things like, "Diseases have no borders." And it's hard to conjure up what that really means.”

    But, Health Map shows you.  Kozarsky says, “Look at a map and see where diseases are originating, and see how they move.  See how influenza moves across the globe.  It's an educational tool and I think it's fun also."

   And, yes, tracking so many outbreaks - in so many places, including here at home - could get you pretty darn paranoid. 

   But Dr. Kozarsky says it may also inspire you to protect yourself, “And if you see the spread of flu, you might say to yourself, ‘You know what, it's time for me to get a flu shot. I want that.'"

    But there's a catch:  Health Map uses information from both governments and news reports, which may not be validated.

    Meaning, Dr. Kozarsky says, it's not necessarily a great tool to plan your next vacation  She says, HealthMap is great for public health providers, great for clinicians, great for government agencies. I think the traveler might find it fun to look at, but they have to look at it with a little cautious eye."

    Want to check it out?  You can find it at

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