HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Flu Advice From Cell Phone

The Associated Press is reporting on a new cell phone feature - warnings about the flu virus.  The AP states,

A maker of over-the-counter cold and flu remedies released a program this week for the T-Mobile G1, also known as the "Google phone," that warns the user how many people in an area are sneezing and shaking with winter viruses.

The "Zicam Cold & Flu Companion" will say, for instance, that 8 percent to 14 percent of the people in your ZIP code have respiratory illnesses, representing a "Moderate" risk level. To give germophobes and hypochondriacs even more of a thrill, it also says what symptoms are common, like coughing and sore throatMatrixx Initiatives Inc., the Arizona company that makes products under the Zicam brand, gets the information on disease levels from Surveillance Data Inc. — which gets its data from polling health care providers and pharmacies. . . .

Google Inc., which created the G1's operating system, launched its own state-by-state Web-based flu tracker recently. It's based on the number of people plugging flu-related searches into Google's search engine.

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