March 21, 2011, 9:12 a.m.
March 16, 2011
CMAJ News reports on a "web-based, open-access system called HealthMap.org/predict that proponents hope will provide real-time intelligence about emerging pathogens." According to the news service, "it involves the collection of online data from thousands of sources, including stories
from news aggregators like Google News, reports from international health agencies, personal accounts and the musings of online discussion groups." The EcoHealth Alliance, Global Viral Forecasting Inc., the Smithsonian Institution, the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Wildlife Conservation Society are using the system, which was created in 2009 by USAID's Emerging Pandemics Threats Program. "The real focus is identifying and focusing surveillance in hotspots around the world where we have potential for risk of a new disease that potentially might cause a pandemic worldwide ," said John Brownstein, HealthMap.org's cofounder and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (3/11).