With increasing concerns about emerging infectious diseases, people now-a-days seem to be getting more cautious about their health. Presently of special concern these days is H1N1 or swine flu, incidences of which have been increasing rapidly across the world.
Considering such alarming health concerns, a new iPhone application called Outbreaks Near Me has recently been created. Developed by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston in cooperation with the MIT Media Lab, this new application supposedly locates H1N1 and other infectious diseases.
It is believed that that the newly introduced iPhone application will assist in identifying and reporting outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as H1N1 and others. The application uses the HealthMap technology which collects, filters, maps and disseminates essential information about emerging infectious diseases. This application also claims to provide a new, contextualized view of a user’s specific location. Users will be made cautious if certain outbreaks are found in the user’s vicinity, thereby providing them with essential additional outbreak information by location or disease.
“We hope individuals will find the new app to be a useful source of outbreak information – locally, nationally, and globally,” states HealthMap co-founder John Brownstein, PhD, assistant professor in the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP). “As people are equipped with more knowledge and awareness of infectious disease, the hope is that they will become more involved and proactive about public health.”
This advanced Outbreaks Near Me iPhone application helps in notifying users on their mobile phones or by e-mail if new outbreaks are detected in their proximity. Simply if a consumer steps in a new area of activity too will put the application to work. Users will also be able to submit an outbreak report with this highly-forward application.
“This is grassroots, participatory epidemiology,” explains HealthMap co-founder Clark Freifeld, a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab and research software developer at CHIP. “In releasing this app we aim to empower citizens in the cause of public health, not only by providing ready access to real-time information, but also by encouraging them to contribute their own knowledge, expertise, and observations. In enabling participation in surveillance, we also expect to increase global coverage and identify outbreaks earlier.”
HealthMap helps to identify, track and map infectious disease outbreaks in people. Its data provides early information on new outbreaks which helps in taking adequate precautions at the same time.
The new Outbreaks Near Me iPhone application was developed with support from Google.org and is now made available. The application can be freely downloaded via the iTunes App Store.