Best practices for social change and environmental action

Where in the world is the latest outbreak?

In Disease, Health, Mapping, Online on April 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm

The recent Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado in Boulder included a panel on “Superbugs and Pandemics” that highlighted — among other things – the many uses of Healthmap.  This is an interactive global mapping site that aggregates news and information from sources such as the World Health Organization, Google News, and the ProMed information service on disease outbreaks.

Click to expand

As a “crowdsourced” tool, it’s not perfect nor verified for accuracy. But it’s quite useful as a window on very current public health problems for NGOs engaged in the sector, government agencies allocating assistance, crisis relief organizations monitoring the global situation for certain types of illness, or public health researchers tracking the vectors that contribute to those illnesses.

Travelers would also find Healthmap an effective way to see if their destinations are experiencing outbreaks that might affect their plans or their preparations.  Because it enables users to search by disease, nation, or region, it can produce helpful detail that is both targeted and specific.  The system has also gone mobile with the Outbreaks Near Me application for the iPhone and Android platforms.

Healthmap is the brainchild and creation of Clark Freifeld and John Brownstein at Children’s Hospital in Boston.  A quick summary of how they did it ran earlier this year in Fast Company. The Healthmap site includes excellent tutorials and some background information for the general public and health practitioners alike.

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