New Website Maps Emerging Zoonotic Diseases
A new website has launched to help governments and health agencies track emerging infectious diseases across the world.
HealthMap.org/Predict delivers real-time information from a number of sources “to give users in more than 20 countries a comprehensive view on the current global state of infectious diseases and their effects on human and animal health.”
The website launch was announced at this week’s International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance in Vienna, Austria.
The website is a component of the Predict project, which was created in 2009 as part of the United States Agency for International Development’s Emerging Pandemics Threats Program. The project’s main focus is building a global early warning system for emerging diseases that move between wildlife and people. Such zoonotic diseases include influenza, ebola and severe acute respiratory syndrome, also known as SARS.
The project is implemented by the University of California, Davis; the Wildlife Conservation Society; EcoHealth Alliance; Global Viral Forecasting Initiative; and the Smithsonian Institution. Additional partners include Harvard Children’s Hospital, ProMED, Yale University and Praecipio.
The website uses the HealthMap platform to bring together a number of data sources—more than 50,000 Web sources an hour—into a unified view on the current status of infectious diseases around the world.
The data is integrated with the results of emerging disease risk modeling by EcoHealth Alliance, which then helps implement and modify Predict field surveillance activities at interfaces where wildlife and humans come together, according to the project’s leaders. This may include wildlife trade and wild animal hunting.
“HealthMap.org helps us monitor outbreaks wherever they occur so that we can target more intensive surveillance to detect emerging pathogens before they spread widely among people and animals, giving us the best chance to prevent new pandemics,” said Jonna Mazet, DVM, Ph.D., director of the Predict project and UC Davis’ One Health Institute in the School of Veterinary Medicine.