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Tips on Scoping Disasters and Diseases Before Traveling

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It pays to know before you go, and that’s especially true when you’re talking about disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and even food and water contamination. Here are some resources to help you out.

As we head into flu season, Google recently created a free Web service called Flu Trends that tracks where influenza cases are emerging in the U.S.

It shows a map of the country and marks which states have low, medium and high occurrences of flu outbreaks.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel there, but at least you’ll know to stock up on antibacterial wipes before you go.

The Global Public Health Intelligence Network, a Canadian service, automatically scans Web sites and news sources in seven languages for information on disease outbreaks, contaminated food and water, natural disasters and other health risks around the world.

The drawback on this one is that you have to pay for it.

But for the truly paranoid, the subscription fee may be worth it. crawls through 24,000 sites looking for disease-related terms. Results appear on a world map, which has colored markers for dengue fever, avian flu and other diseases.

The downside is that these sites can’t guarantee the same accuracy as, say, weeks of research by the CDC.

But this information is practically in real-time, which can benefit travelers.

To learn more about travel health, visit our Travel Health & Fitness section.

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