Web-Based Surveillance Systems for Human, Animal, and Plant Diseases
The emergence of infectious diseases, caused by novel pathogens or the spread of existing ones to new populations and regions, represents a continuous threat to humans and other species. The early detection of emerging human, animal, and plant diseases is critical to preventing the spread of infection and protecting the health of our species and environment. Today, more than 75% of emerging infectious diseases are estimated to be zoonotic and capable of crossing species barriers and diminishing food supplies. Traditionally, surveillance of diseases has relied on a hierarchy of health professionals that can be costly to build and maintain, leading to a delay or interruption in reporting. However, Internet-based surveillance systems bring another dimension to epidemiology by utilizing technology to collect, organize, and disseminate information in a more timely manner. Partially and fully automated systems allow for earlier detection of disease outbreaks by searching for information from both formal sources (e.g., World Health Organization and government ministry reports) and informal sources (e.g., blogs, online media sources, and social networks). Web-based applications display disparate information online or disperse it through e-mail to subscribers or the general public. Web-based early warning systems, such as ProMED-mail, the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), and Health Map, have been able to recognize emerging infectious diseases earlier than traditional surveillance systems. These systems, which are continuing to evolve, are now widely utilized by individuals, humanitarian organizations, and government health ministries.
Full text loading...