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Are you concerned about the recent Ebola outbreaks that are spreading across the globe? Do disease outbreaks in general cause you great alarm? Well, avoid the media entirely, and get the latest pandemic information from official sources.
It seems to be the same pattern during every major disease crisis in the world. An outbreak occurs, the media select a few juicy quotes from involved medical staff, and then use those quotes to create alarmist news reports that cause great alarm among readers across the world. This can cause unnecessary panic and fear everywhere.
But is that panic and fear justified? Thankfully, there are a few resources where you can get an accurate picture about what’s really going on — not the sensationalized news-media version of events. Take a look at the data and the maps yourself, and decide whether there really is anything to be alarmed about.
If there’s any good place to get a clear picture of health related events going on throughout Europe, the European Commission is the place to go. In fact, the EU hosts an entire health section on its website, covering topics like social health issues like ageing, healthy habits like smoking or alcohol, and of course major health related updates like influenza and other global diseases.
During the most recent Ebola crisis, the EU created a dedicated section of its website for the latest developments about the spread of the disease.
The EU provided the public with important updates about the EU’s response to the Ebola outbreak with financial and logistical support. The updates also included information on the “health implications” of the disease, with facts about the symptoms and how it can be transmitted from person to person. The information you find here is far more accurate and useful than anything you’d find in news reports.
Are you curious about where the worst diseases in the world are happening at any given moment? If so, head over to Healthmap.org and take a look at the outbreak maps that are offered there.
On the main page, you’ll see them all. Everything from Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever to Tick-born disease, malaria and the plague.
There’s a specific Ebola map available for the entire timeline of its spread around the world, starting from March of 2014 up through the most recent situation right now.
Each yellow dot represents an area with suspected cases, with the dot darkening to a dark magenta for a high quantity of confirmed cases. Watching the spread of disease on these maps really does model the exponential nature of the spread of illness across the world.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Usually, one of the first organizations in the world that will react to the report of disease clusters, anywhere in the world, is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So, it should come as no surprise that the CDC also set up a full section of its website devoted to providing information about Ebola, including symptoms, transmission, prevention, risk of exposure and even how doctors can diagnose the illness.
The CDC provides updates for diseases beyond the recent Ebola crisis. For example, it offers a useful visual map of current influenza activity around the United States at any given time. The map is updated weekly.
Unfortunately, the data is only useful to people living within the United States. However, for anyone interested in current disease activity on a global scale, the World Health Organization (WHO) is the place to turn to .
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the premier sources for disease information across the globe. In fact, the organization has set up a section of the website called the Global Alert and Response where you can get the latest news and top stories on global disease outbreaks.
The page dedicated to Ebola shows all of the facts and none of the hype associated with the spread of this deadly virus.
You’ll see the latest confirmed cases, but more importantly a full fact sheet listing the real background of the disease (no, it isn’t a virus genetically created in a secret U.S. lab), how healthcare workers can prevent the spread of the disease, and an accurate chronology of past Ebola outbreaks and the associated fatality rates.
After reading accurate information about Ebola from the WHO, you may not find yourself wanting to run off to the hills to hide in a remote cabin any time soon, but you will find yourself much more informed and able to better understand the real risks related to the outbreak.
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
This site provides the latest, accurate updates about major diseases of the day. Top stories on Ebola get updated daily, and the site includes news on other important issues like cholera, dengue, bird flu, measles, meningitis and much more.
All topics on the site can be searched or sorted by a really specific search menu that lets you break it down by topic, date, country or organization. For example, with a quick click, you can find the 23 articles from the U. S. government’s BioWatch program, 6 articles about airborne tularemia, 15 about the Department of Homeland Security.
It’s primarily an academic source for news about diseases and public health, so this is a great place to go when you need to know more about the latest stories — without all of the hype and fear-mongering that you may find from non-academic sources.
The last resource worth mentioning is an informational website called Flu.org operated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Since one of the more likely outbreaks to affect much of humanity across the globe is a form of the influenza virus, this organization is a valuable resource to monitor regularly.
While most of the information at the site involves information about any influenza pandemic, you’ll find that the site largely covers the effects of pandemics in general, and how the government and the world will likely work in such a scenario. According to the “Planning Preparedness” guide offered at this site, disease outbreaks like SARS, Ebola, HIV and other outbreaks are dangerous, they are not typically as widespread and can be contained before turning pandemic.
Lots of valuable info here on how to prepare yourself and your family for any flu pandemics, like understanding symptoms, safe ways to care for someone with the flu, and accurate information about vaccinations. You’ll even find a collection of videos offering helpful tips about all of these topics.
When it comes to alarms and false alarms over pandemic events, people think the “the end of the world”. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the best preparation isn’t a stockpile of food, water and surgical masks, it’s a stockpile of information about what’s really happening, what you’re facing when dealing with the disease, and how you can position yourself to be safe and healthy.
If you’re hoping to stay safe in any sort of global pandemic, then get educated about the possible diseases where this could happen, and monitor the current situation around the world using all of the resources listed above. Information and knowledge will always keep you protected better than misinformation and fear. Of course don’t forget Kannon’s list of influenza fighting apps for protecting yourself when you’re mobile!
What resources do you use to stay on top of any pandemic outbreaks? What do you do to keep yourself and your family safe? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!