Bird flu data must be made public – and fast

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Bird flu data must be made public – and fast

Tracey P. Lauriault-2
I send these two articles, as i think they highlight the importance of releasing data.  Sometimes access to data is for democratic reasons and in this case i believe our collective health is at risk if we are not informed.  Remember how detrimental the early days of aids research was to the health & lives of many? 

In this case, scientists are hoarding data to get published, others are privatizing the data into private networks, politicians are skiddish to publish in the event it affects their respective economies, and in other cases the data are scattered all over the place making the ability to get a comprehensive picture of this possible pandemic very difficult. 

All these access to data impediments are addressed in the CivicAccess and of the wiki.

Article in Science and Development

Bird flu data must be made public – and fast
Scientists should make bird flu data available to all


"Despite the possibility of the H5N1 virus sparking a human flu pandemic, comprehensive data about bird flu outbreaks in poultry and people is not being made available in a timely fashion." and "It says the World Health Organization's (WHO) information on human cases are scattered over hundreds of websites, while online data on outbreaks in poultry from the World Organization for Animal Health are incomplete and contain errors."

Link to full Nature article: 
Editorial - Dreams of flu data
Nature 440, 255-256 (16 March 2006)
The address is:


"The lack of an accessible store of information is undermining the fight against avian flu.

"Confidentiality of sensitive national outbreak surveillance data assured!" This prominent guarantee on the website of the South East Asian Nations Infectious Diseases Outbreak Surveillance Network says it all. Open sharing of data often ends when it could compromise trade or other national interests.

Massive public databases exist in many areas of science, and are critical to cutting-edge research. But there is no comprehensive database of outbreaks of infectious diseases. We have better data on galaxies 10 billion light years away than on human cases of avian flu in China or Vietnam. Yet the world is imperilled by outbreaks, wherever they happen."