H1N1 A (Swine) Flu Infects the (Philippine’s) web

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Nope, those quarantined people in Vicente Soto Memorial Medical Center (Cebu, Philippines) are just “suspects”. No confirmed cases yet in the Philippines. At least, that’s what our quick responding health secretary Francisco Duque III is telling the nation. Despite the virus’ inability to spread biologically online Swine flu frenzy in Philippine web is exploding. And its spreading like wildfire.

Taking cues from viral spread of the flu online abroad (US and Europe) you can now read about H1N1 seconds after a Google search, minutes after someone “tweeted” any topic related to it, or map it out in Heath Maps like this one and even discussions on Facebook!

US Swine Flu Discussion Map according to Facebook

Perhaps the busiest site would be U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)H1N1 Flu site detailing all possible topics related to this pandemic. The site provides virtually things you need to know about the outbreak in the language even a fifth grader would understand.

Our very own Department of Health didn’t escape the online viral fever. It did published an online guide to Influenza A (H1N1) in the Philippines and is coming up with a workable preparedness plan for a possible Swine Flu infection in the Philippines.

The online counterparts of media moguls ABS-CBN and GMA (the major harbinger of news in a nation whose internet usage is below half its population) publishes frequent updates about Swine Flu cases here and abroad. Online newspapers Inquirer.net among others run swine flu news like hotcakes.

But the two most easily understood write ups about Swine Flu here in the philippine blogosphere came from medical bloggers. Doc Ian Gomez tackled Swine Flu extensively in his blog So Far So Good. Doc Emer of Parallel Universes wittingly and graphically demystified “unknowns” about H1N1 virus. I stumbled upon a dozen more blogs discussing Swine Flu and I think, we don’t lack information about it.

The thing is, how much of our readership reaches the “majority” of Filipinos? This implosion is actually nothing if the poor Juan couldn’t be properly educated about Swine Flu. The media hype and blogosphere frenzy is good for two things-educate and take action. For any other disease to which the human species is not “acquainted” to or doesn’t have any idea how it came about, maybe online information is as vital as preventing the spread of a disease itself.What do you think???

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is previously Chief of Clinics at St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City and a consultant in Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (www.remomd.com).

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