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Mobilizing an army of dengue fever trackers

Aug 01, 2016

Brought to you by Break Dengue, Dengue Track is a novel approach to disease mapping which could also be used for tracking the Zika virus or Malaria.

Through a user-friendly online chat system, the tool will build a crowdsourced map of dengue outbreak. Users - known as Dengue Trackers - can access free toolkits to help them reduce their risk of dengue fever while providing details of outbreaks.

Dengue fever is a potentiallyfatal disease that infects 390 million people per year at an annual global cost of US$8.89 billion. The World Health Organisation estimates that about 40% of the global population lives in highrisk areas.

Improved disease surveillance is essential to tackling dengue, according to the WHO Global Strategy for Dengue Prevention and Control 20122020, but gathering accurate data from traditional sources has been challenging. Dengue Track is helping to fill this gap.

"This innovative crowdsourced disease surveillance tool is a gamechanger in the fight against dengue. Its interactive chat system is highly innovative and userfriendly."

-Nicholas Brooke, Executive Director, Break Dengue

The 4Vs of big dengue data

Dengue Track is unique. It collects an unprecedented volume of data by adding crowd surveillance and data from social media and search engines to existing official data. This variety of sources offers a 360˚ view of the disease.

"Not only that, but it does it fast," says Nicholas Brooke, Director at Break Dengue. "The velocity of data collection and processing allows for modelling and targeted alert systems in close to real time. And, perhaps most importantly, this multilayered approach delivers veracity. The model is more accurate because the volume and variety of data sources helps to correct errors that may arise in any individual source."

[1] Global Strategy for Dengue Prevention and Control 2012 2020

What can users do?

First, users can visit the site and use the system for themselves. Then they can sign up to become a dengue tracker, and share. "We need to mobilise an army of dengue trackers if we are to meet our shared goal of reducing the burden of dengue fever." Says Nicholas Brooke. Users are also invited to embed Dengue Track on their websites.

What's new?

This selflearning digital surveillance program is highly innovative. Dengue Track

1. Provides actionable pushpull surveillance, combining close to realtime data with the ability to push it to the right audience at the right time

2. Taps into multiple sources to deliver an overall correlation higher than the sum of the individual data sources

3. Integrates all stakeholders and allows them to take an active role, proving authorities and NGOs with a valuable resource

4. Offers value to the audience by providing actionable surveillance data which citizens can use

5. Is a scalable model which can be extended to all digital channels and expanded to other diseases such as Zika and malaria

6. Applies selflearning techniques by providing the audience with an opportunity to endorse or correct the model

Mobilizing an army of dengue fever trackers

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