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NUTLEY, N.J. -- With seasonal flu already packing a punch throughout the United States, Roche announced the launch of its upgraded version of the Desktop Flu Tracker, a tool that allows users to conveniently and accurately track the appearance and spread of flu in any community in the continental United States. The Desktop Flu Tracker provides
physicians and patients with up-to-date information about local and national flu levels in real time and alerts the user when there is an increased risk in the area.Â The innovative tool can be downloaded at http://www.tamiflu.com/flutracker.
"Americans need to be prepared for seasonal influenza, which causes an average of 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year. This includes awareness of proper preventive measures, warning signs and treatment options for influenza," said Dominick Iacuzio, PhD, medical director of Roche, which markets Tamiflu, a prescription antiviral for influenza.Â "Flu Tracker enables both consumers and healthcare professionals to identify flu outbreaks in their cities and towns, take proper precautionary measures, and seek medical treatment if the need arises."
The user-friendly programming feature on the Desktop Flu Tracker allows people to monitor for flu outbreaks in up to three geographic areas.Â Users can monitor flu activity where they live, as well as track the virus in areas where family and friends are located.Â The software includes helpful information about prevention and treatment, and helps users recognize the difference between cold and flu -- a common confusion.
"Being able to monitor virus activity helps patients determine when they may be at highest risk of contracting flu," said Iacuzio.Â "Flu tracker arms patients with expert information regarding symptom recognition, allowing the patient to talk with his or her doctor about proper treatment, such as taking an antiviral medication within the first 48 hours of symptom onset."
The Desktop Flu Tracker is updated twice weekly with information from FluSTAR (System for Tracking And Reporting Flu), a comprehensive surveillance system that provides reliable reporting of flu activity nationwide. FluSTAR data is gathered from four different surveillance methods, including rapid assay data, laboratory confirmation and clinical diagnosis data, which is compiled and analyzed throughout the flu season.Â Data for each geographical area is reported on a scale that indicates whether current flu and flu-like illness is low, moderate or high.
The Desktop Flu Tracker respects privacy by refraining from sending personal information from the user's desktop to outside computers. Additionally, the software program is not bundled with any extra unwanted programs.