HealthMap: the future of infectious diseases surveillance?
Author(s)/Editor(s): Nelson R
Journal: The Lancet
Publication date: October 2008
Number of pages: 9
Electronic surveillance using web based tools has proven to be of substantial value in reporting outbreaks of infectious disease. However, trying to pinpoint a potential outbreak and contain it before it spreads requires the constant surveillance of a continually growing number of disparate news sources and alert services. HealthMap, a new health surveillance system that scours web sources for real-time information on infectious disease outbreaks, was developed in an effort to address some of those challenges.”
HealthMap is a multistream, realtime surveillance platform that monitors and continuously aggregates electronic data on new and ongoing infectious disease outbreaks. HealthMap brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health.
Freely available Web site integrates outbreak data of varying reliability, ranging from news sources (such as Google News) to curated personal accounts (such as ProMED) to validated official alerts (such as World Health Organization).
Through an automated text processing system, the data is aggregated by disease and displayed by location for user-friendly access to the original alert. HealthMap provides a jumping-off point for real-time information on emerging infectious diseases and has particular interest for public health officials and international travelers.