The Great Flu

You must have heard of swine flu recently, unless you’ve been living under a rock. Every day there seems to be a news story about a new case, a new development, or a new precaution we’re all meant to take to prevent catching the virus. In pandemic cases information is almost as important as actual medical care – helping to prevent new cases and tell people what to do if they suspect they might have caught something.

The BBC carried an article on Thursday about an initiative by medical experts at the Erasmus Medical Centre to help members of the public understand a little about how to battle a pandemic… through gaming.

The game, called The Great Flu, puts you in charge of a limited budget as you try to limit the extent of a viral outbreak. As you do so little snippets of information pop up to tell you what’s going on. To be honest, most of the measures available to you are unlikely to be within your grasp in real life (you’re probably not going to be able to close all your country’s airports, for example), but as you learn the effects of these actions you’ll have a greater understanding of the steps that can be taken to try and reduce infections.

The game is a bit odd, and quite slow, but interesting to play through. If you’re up for a more serious challenge you can pick a more virulent strain of flu to battle, but always remember the advice given on the Erasmus MC site – if you’re sick, visit a doctor. Don’t assume the advice given in the game is medically correct or appropriate for your circumstances.

Have a go at battling The Great Flu.

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