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Preventing the spread of Infectious disease

Organization: Punjab Province of Pakistan

Country: Pakistan

Forum: Big data & healthcare

In 2011, an outbreak of dengue fever in the city of Lahore in Pakistan infected approximately 16,000 people and took 352 lives. In response to this, researchers from the Pakistani government and universities developed an early epidemic detection system based on software designed to detect flu outbreaks in the US. Government employees are given smartphones loaded with the app and instructed to take photos and geo-code the location of standing water where mosquitos breed. These photos are pinned to a map of Lahore, and reported data on the presence of patients with dengue fever is then cross-referenced with larvae locations in order to generate outbreak warnings for specific areas.

This allows breeding grounds of mosquito larvae to be identified and pre-emptively eliminated before outbreaks can take hold. Smartphones can then be used to take before and after photographs of the breeding grounds in order to track progress and demonstrate that work is being carried out effectively.

In 2012, there were only 234 reported cases of dengue fever and no reported deaths. The principles behind the system’s model have since been applied in other areas, including agriculture and policing. In May 2014, Data Plug, an Open Source Platform for creating mobile applications, was established to enable this technology to be shared with and used by others.

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