Text messages warn of 'killer flu' hot spots

When were you most glad you had your mobile?
Written by John Lui, Contributor

When were you most glad you had your mobile?

A Hong Kong mobile phone operator has launched a location-based service that will alert subscribers who are near buildings where a deadly flu virus has struck. Those opting for the service will have their phones tracked, and will be warned by SMS whenever they stray within a kilometer of a building where there have been instances of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) infections, as declared by the Hong Kong Department of Health. Bruce Hicks, group managing director of Sunday Communications, the telco offering the service, said: "With the dial of a few digits, subscribers can quickly get the peace of mind they need to go about their everyday lives." Users dial a number to access information posted by the Department of Health. They can then choose to subscribe to the SARS location alerts, and also get locations of places SARS patients are suspected to have visited. There is no charge for each SMS request, but normal airtime charges still apply, according to a statement from Sunday. Sunday will also donate mobile services to SARS patients. Hong Kong residents have been jittery about the infection since the SARS outbreak a month ago. The disease has caused 56 deaths in the former British colony and over 1,200 infections have been reported. Around Asia, cases have been reported in almost every country, with over 100 deaths so far. This week silicon.com is aksing readers to write in with tales of when you were most glad to have your mobile phone with you. Email editorial@silicon.com.
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