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Track the swine flu -- from your iPhone

Attention health geeks: obsessed with your iPhone AND the swine flu? Well here's a new application that claims to help you track disease outbreaks from your favorite handheld device.

The app, called Outbreaks Near Me, was designed by researchers at the Children's Hospital of Boston. You can find it via HealthMap, which aggregates disease outbreaks worldwide using everything from Google news alerts to updates from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The folks behind it acknowledge it's not an exact science, but they say it can help people pinpoint where disease outbreaks occur -- and not just swine flu, but all sorts of illnesses. And for serious nerds, the app enlists your help as an outbreak "detective," to report your findings to the network using your iPhone.

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"You will get credit as a disease detective and your find will be featured on the website," according to the site.

True geeks know this isn't the only way Apple is going after folks interested in health. Forget the useless applications that allow you to pop virtual bubble wrap or drink a virtual bear, there are a ton for doctors and patients ...

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For docs, there are medical manuals, drug guides and access to medical journal articles.

For patients, Apple offers everything from Quitter, an application to help smokers kick the habit, and Lose it, a free one that tries to help you shed pounds, to various applications that allow diabetics to keep track of their glucose levels. There's even an app for would-be guinea pigs to search tens of thousands of clinical trials.

Do you guys use these or others? Do they help? We're intrigued.

image courtesy of HealthMap


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