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Brazil launches flu monitoring website
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Brazil's Health Ministry has launched a website to help tackle the A/H1N1 flu and other seasonal disease, local media reported on Sunday.

The site, Gripenet Brasil (www.gripenet.com.br), run by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a research institute supported by the National Health Ministry, will publish information on the intensity and frequency of flu outbreaks in the nation, updating daily with graphics and statistics.

The Brazilian project also plans to monitor a control group spread across the nation, who will report weekly any signs of flu, which could include coughing, fever, headaches, muscular pain and breathing difficulties.

This method is more reliable than waiting for health system reports, because many people do not seek medical help when they are sick, according to the foundation.

So far, there are 73 volunteers covering 11 of Brazil's 27 states, and most of them are in Rio de Janeiro. The foundation estimates that 5,000 volunteers are needed.

The project started when the deadly A/H1N1 flu became an epidemic in Mexico and spread worldwide. Brazil has nine confirmed cases of the disease.

(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2009)

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