In June 2005 a reader over at the old site suggested we put up some of our flu related material on Wikipedia. That sounded like a great idea to me. Even better, why not start a special purpose wiki — a flu wiki — to harvest the vast knowledge of the hivemind? Many, if not most, of the problems that would plague us in a pandemic weren’t medical or even scientific in nature. They were things like, how do you prepare your small business for the possibility that the one person who knows how to unjam the fax machine is out sick for 4 weeks? Two other bloggers were also doing flu stuff at that time, DemFromCT at DailyKos and the late Melanie Mattson at Just a Bump in the Beltway. As far as I know, we were the only three bloggers who were paying attention to the potential for a flu pandemic as a result of the re-emergence of H5N1. So I got in touch with both of them and proposed we start a “flu wiki.” I’m not bad at ideas for others to do but often don’t follow through. Fortunately my two partners excelled at it. Flu Wiki is now a fixture in flublogia and has a wealth of great information, much of which could come in handy as the current situation unfolds.
The Flu Wiki really has two main parts. The better known is the Forum. DemFromCT along with a dedicated band of regulars provide a multifeatured and extraordinarily informative discussion forum for the flu
\obsessed. You can find it here. It’s not the only one. There are also other terrific forums (see here for a list).
There is another part of Flu Wiki, however, which is not as well known. This is the part I initially envisioned and started off by writing a bunch of Basic Flu Science pieces. You can still find some of my words there, but it has been edited, amended, corrected, enlarged, expanded and generally made much better by many hands on many keyboards. It’s a good place to learn the absolute basics of flu science, presented at the level of an intelligent lay person.
I’ll be doing some of this here, too, as we go along. It’s a teachable moment.