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Track Swine Flu Outbreaks with iPhone App

Want to make fart noises? There's an app for that. In the mood to shoot down a few Nazis? There's an app for that. Want to keep track of swine flu outbreaks? Apparently there's an app for that too, now available on Apple's App Store. Could this application prove useless like many of the applications already littering the service? Perhaps not.

Created by the Children's Hospital of Boston along with MIT Media Lab, the application gathers data provided by HealthMap, an online service that "collects filters, maps, and disseminates information about emerging infectious diseases." CNET wrote a small review, ultimately deciding that HealthMap: Outbreaks Near Me (iTunes link) is actually a worthwhile app, believe it or not.

The program incorporates Google Maps, showing the end-user's current location and displaying nearby outbreaks with pin-like graphics. Users can also search for a specific spot--such as a vacation destination--and be able to view places better to be avoided. According to CNET, there's also a list view that shows a summary of each outbreak's associated news story.

The application's additional features include push notifications, and also the ability to submit outbreak reports and photos; HealthMap reviews all submissions before inserting reports into the overall pool. Currently the application is ranking one and a half stars out of five, with end-users complaining of crashes, long loads, and overall lackluster design.