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Swine Flu: Free Access To World-renowned Public Health Database

CABI has announced free access to its specialist Global Health database, the definitive database for public health information, to assist in the battle against swine flu – http://www.cabdirect.org/globalhealth.

Simultaneously CABI has developed a ‘swine flu dashboard’ that brings together up-to-the-minute information on the virus (http://www.netvibes.com/cabialerts). The ‘dashboard’ includes resources from CABI and critical advice from key health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

In a fast changing sequence of events that has led to the rapid escalation of concern from WHO, and the reaction of national governments in considering their response to a possible influenza pandemic, release of the database is designed to give urgently needed support to those who need it most: scientists, medical professionals and health authorities investigating the causes and treatments of the disease and linkages to past outbreaks.

Influenza researchers urgently need to be able to refer back to previous scientific work in this area to understand the behaviour of previous strains of the virus and to research effective mechanisms for handling earlier outbreaks.

The Global Health database brings together global knowledge on every aspect of influenza since 1910. The knowledge it contains could provide a key weapon in health researchers’ response in understanding and controlling the virus.

Much of the data in Global Health is derived from publications that have long since vanished. They tell us a great deal about past pandemics, from rates and patterns of transmission, duration, timing of epidemiological peaks, geographical distribution of the disease, government preparedness and quarantine provisions through to effects on different age and social groups, severity in developing versus developed countries, symptoms, causes of mortality (secondary problems, especially pneumonia, were devastating in the Spanish flu) and mortality rates.

CABI Swine Flu Dashboard – http://www.netvibes.com/cabialerts

Global Health database – http://www.cabdirect.org/globalhealth

(Briefly from http://www.cabi.org/datapage.asp?iDocID=1435)

When you open Global Health database, you will find that this database is open to the public and on the top of the page there says Database last updated: Jun 17, 2009. A new version of CAB Direct is coming in June 2009 please take a look www.cabdirect2.org. You can enter search words or phrase in the search blank to find related information. For example, if you put in ‘swine flu’ and you can get 175 records. Most of them are got for you with full text with the downloading link in the new window after you click the title of one result. The second result is ‘2. Swine influenza: frequently asked questions. World Health Organization/Weekly Epidemiological Record, 2009, Vol. 84, No. 18, pp. 149-151’. In the new window you can get the URL with full text: URL http://www.who.int/wer/2009/wer8418.pdf.

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