Friday, July 01, 2005

Flu bloggers in the press

Helen Branswell of Canadian Press is known among those interested in influenza matters as the journalist of record. Her stories are informative, balanced and interesting, and even if you follow this issue closely you always learn something. So it was a particular pleasure to read about ourselves in her latest story about the role of blogs in calling attention to and keeping track of the evolving influenza situation. The Flu Wiki is mentioned and so are other bloggers. CurEvents CanadaSue gets special mention, allowing me to find out for the first time who she was. More importantly, the story recognizes something of real interest: a worldwide community of people putting their brains to the task of solving a problem that may never happen, but which, if it does, will take the best efforts of our communities to cope.

Most of us despair at one time or another about not being able to get more action on things important to us. But the majority of people in the world do all they can to make it through the week. They assume somebody is thinking about the longer range problems. Sometimes this is true and sometimes it isn't. The bloggers and forum denizens in Helen Branswell's story can play a part getting us all ready for coping with an onslaught of infectious disease--truly the challenge of the day in public health--by strengthening the hand of those in civil authority who also work to that end and by providing a source of new ideas, innovation and sheer raw energy that will be sorely needed, if and when the bad time comes.