Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Flu Wiki is one week old

The Flu Wiki was born about 9 days ago. It started walking and talking from day one and hasn't stopped since. The initial rush of fifteen hundred or so daily visits has now settled down to a comfortable and steady 300 or so, which is better than we envisioned for a new specialty site. More importantly, however, there is real, substantive participation. Extremely interesting posts on how an emergency room works (and who works in it), a note on "medical gases" (like oxygen tanks) and their source (interesting discussion in the linked Forum thread as well), many links to international, regional, state and local plans, several extended science primers geared to the influenza problem, a list of good resources and many other items I don't have space to mention. New content is added daily.

But there is more to do and many people reading this can help. Some of the entries are empty (awaiting first content) and some have rough or crude initial entries that need work, either elaboration, correction or copy editing. If you read something you think is inadequate or wrong, we invite you to make it adequate or correct it. Participation can be as simple as correcting a typo, some punctuation or a slight rewording. All you have to do is click "edit" in the upper right, make the changes, and Save (you must put in a name and a brief description of your edit but there are no other requirements; you don't have to use your real name, give an email or register). You can preview your edits with the preview button or cancel them if you chicken out.

We've gotten some nice national press and many even nicer comments via our blogs. But what we really want is the collective wisdom and experience that is out there and which we will need if we are to be prepared. No one knows if there will be a pandemic soon or if it will come later. It would be imprudent not to prepare, however, given the downside of being caught as we are now. The Flu Wiki is not only a specific effort to do this, but also an innovation in public health planning and preparation, one that enlists the impressive intelligence of the community that rarely gets tapped.

Consider yourself tapped.