Ebola Outbreak Discovered by Online Tool Before Outbreak Announced

Ebola Outbreak Discovered by Online Tool Before Outbreak Announced

The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has caused scientific concentration to focus on an online tool that was run by researcher in Boston. It identified a “mystery hemorrhagic fever” that was located in woodland areas of southeastern Guinea nearly 10 days before the World Health Organization officially proclaimed the epidemic to the world.

The tool, called HealthMap, used various algorithms to search thousands of local and national news sites, social media services, various government sites, medical doctor’s social systems and also other sources that were enabled to discover and trace outbreaks of disease. Updated software is able to sift through unrelated information, categorizes the pertinent data, detects diseases and also maps their localities with the aid of scientists.

John Brownstein, who is a co-founder of HealthMap, stated that several of these casual sources are aiding in creating a picture of what is going on. The tool is operated by a team of 45 science investigators, epidemiologists and software designers at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

HealthMap was introduced back in 2006 with a basic audience of public health officials but that soon changed as the system progressed and the public desired more health information through the swine flu pandemic. It is able to produce information that contains regions of precise outbreaks and also tracks brand new cases and deaths. HealthMap can also record what public sentiment might be.

This Ebola outbreak, which is the longest and biggest that has ever recorded for the disease, has so far killed over 950 people. It is believed it came out of Guinea in March of this year and has continued to spread to Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The Ebola outbreak was noted  as happening in the region numerous days before the WHO officially spoke of the epidemic to the world.

HealthMap is controlled by a team of investigators, epidemiologists and software designers whose parent company, Epidemico LLC, is considered to be a spinoff of the Boston hospital.

Brownstein declared that with the rise of the Ebola outbreak, there has been a gigantic increase in visitors that have went to the online tool.

Because of the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, numerous researches have turned to look at HealthMap. Because it is an online tool and is run by researcher in Boston, many individuals have been looking at it in recent weeks. It was able to recognize Ebola almost 10 full days before the World Health Organization officially declared that the “mystery hemorrhagic fever” was considered an epidemic to the entire world.

HealthMap was created to look at both local and national news sites, different social media services, various government sites, medical doctors’ social networks and also other sources that were enabled to discover and trace outbreaks of disease. The updated software was able to examine unrelated information, categorizes the appropriate data about diseases and also maps their localities with the aid of researchers.

The co-founder explained that the tool was helping scientists create an image of just exactly what was happening. Hopefully it will somehow aid in finding a vaccine or cure as well.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

FOX News

The Huffington Post

Slashdot News

 

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