Catching up on some old feed items, I'm somewhat behind due to travel and workload:
For states and other organizations.including local services, that need to communicate to the public regarding possible health situations, given the right circumstances (with certain opt-in / privacy settings), this could be a valuable communication method to provide people with situational context to a given crisis.
Who is Sick? is a Google Maps mashup, which as Alex Iskold wrote in March is the most popular type of mashup. Who is Sick? attempts to track "sicknesses" as they spread across an area.
Users can enter their symptoms, which are mapped into six categories (including an "Other" catch-all), their age, sex, days since experiencing the symptoms, further details, and their zip code. The information is then fed into a searchable Google map. The service is 100% anonymous.
As you can see, the map view can get a little crowded in populated areas. Thankfully, Who is Sick? offers a search function that lets you cull further. Let’s say I live in Beverly Hills and have had a runny nose and fever for a few days. Entering that information, I can see that 31 people have experienced the same symptoms in the past two weeks - 11 of them are female (I knew I shouldn’t have talked to that sneezing girl at the bar!).
The site also offers basic statistical analysis of the illnesses making their away around your area. A pie chart shows a symptom break down, while a bar graph indicates visually how many new people are getting sick week-over-week. However, it’s unclear whether a growing number of sicknesses indicates a passing virus or simply more people using the site.
In the US the Center for Disease Control tracks illness around the country. Most developed nations have governmental health agencies that track the progression of sickness. They don’t, however, usually track the sniffles or localized illnesses (unless severe or mysterious). They also get their information from physicians, which means they only hear about illnesses that are bad enough to require a doctor visit. Who is Sick?’s data is likely not as a reliable, as a result of coming from people who may tend to exaggerate, but it could be more complete.
Source: Tracking Sickness Using Web 2.0