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By GCN Staff

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Disease detection project tested at Brazil’s World Cup

Disease detection project tested at Brazil's World Cup

Soccer wasn’t the only thing Brazilians were watching last week.

Using tablet-based software designed by the Centers for Disease Control, public health experts from Brazil’s Ministry of Health tested a disease detection system that gives researchers the ability to identify outbreaks earlier and with more precision.

The tablet-based system and the Epi Info software driving it are seen as an important advance in helping to identify outbreaks earlier and with more precision. That ability is especially important in mass gatherings such as the World Cup and other major events, the Centers for Disease Control wrote in its Our Global Voices blog.

According to the CDC, this the first large-scale (both numerically and geographically) disease surveillance system designed to collect and then stream data to a central location where public health officials can access it via a centrally located dashboard for analysis and response.

The software is the key, CDC explained. Tablets are pre-loaded with specialized CDC developed Epi Info software that allows epidemiologists in the field to collect data for a wide array of categories and indicators. The data is stored offline until Internet connectivity is available, at which point it is sent to the cloud for aggregation. At a “home base” that is often an emergency operations center, the data can then be viewed on a dashboard that is continuously updated with statistical results, charts, and maps.

The capability will allow outbreaks to be detected far quicker than with previous technology.

With the system functioning well after the first two weeks of the World Cup, Asad Islam, CDC’s Epi Info team lead, said that it is conceivable to take the lessons learned there and apply them to other public health surveillance and response activities related to outbreaks, natural disasters or humanitarian crises. That remains in the future, however. As successful as the World Cup experience has been to date, the system is still in pilot stage. 

Posted by GCN Staff on Jul 14, 2014 at 7:48 AM


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