Digital Detection of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern
Methods:We describe the application of HealthMap, a freely accessible, multistream real-time surveillance platform, for early detection of PHEICS declared under the WHO IHRs. Drawing on previous case studies and retrospective data from IHR-declared PHEICs - notably H1N1 (2009), poliomyelitis (2013/4) and ebola virus disease (2014), we describe the timeliness of HealthMap digital event reports, compared against official government reporting.
Results: Among 87,000 informal and official reports collected of H1N1 (April 1 to Dec 31, 2009), we found a median 12-day difference between digitally detected and government confirmed cases among reporting countries. Among polio outbreaks that began between Nov 1, 2013 and Oct 1, 2014, initial digital reports preceded initial official reports by an average of 13 days. For the 2014 ebola outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, digital reports preceded initial formal reports by an average of 8 days.
Discussion: Digital surveillance has the potential to improve early detection and response to PHEICs, and should be considered an essential complement to existing formal surveillance structure.
Learning Areas:Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Demonstrate role of digital surveillance for early detection of public health emergencies of international concern (PHEICs) under the World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations; Evaluate retrospective data from H1N1 pandemic (2009), poliomyelitis (2013/4) and ebola outbreaks (2014); Compare timeliness of digital surveillance reports compared to official government reports of WHO-declared PHEICs.
Keyword(s): Surveillance, Emergency Preparedness
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a post-doctoral research fellow at HealthMap.org and have previously published on topics related to the WHO IHRs and public health emergencies of international concern
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.