Online Ebola Tracker Beats WHO to the Punch

Site from Boston hospital provides real-time updates

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 9, 2014 1:21 PM CDT

(Newser) – Those looking to keep track of the Ebola outbreak know it can take days for the World Health Organization to update cases, a source of frustration when it comes to the fast-spreading disease. Which is why an online tool created by Boston Children's Hospital is seeing a spike in visitors of late, reports the Boston Globe. It's an Ebola tracker—part of the HealthMap.org site—and it updates occurrences of the disease in real time by factoring in social media, news stories, government websites, doctors' online postings, etc., explains AP.

"The news reports and social media posts aren’t always reliable, but in general they provide an up-to-date sense of what’s happening," says a co-founder of HealthMap, which made its debut in 2006. In fact, the site began getting reports of a "mystery hemorrhagic fever" in Guinea on March 14, nine days before WHO issued its first official report on the Ebola outbreak. (One of the two US patients undergoing treatment in Atlanta says he's getting better.)

A Nigerian health official uses a thermometer on a worker at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria.
A Nigerian health official uses a thermometer on a worker at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)
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