A squad of scientists, counting one of Indian-origin, has urbanized a system that can predict the outbreak of dengue fever as much as three weeks in advance by just analyzing the calling behaviour of patients to a public-health hotline. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne virus that infects up to 400,000 people each year. Lakshminarayanan Subramanian, Professor at New York University (NYU) conveyed that, thousands of lives are lost every year in mounting nations for failing to detect epidemics early because of the lack of real-time data on reported cases. The research showed that the telephone-based disease surveillance system not only flagged an outbreak, but also total an accurate forecast of both the number of patients and their locations two to three weeks ahead of time.
Subramanian further conveyed that, this system is the first to demonstrate, with significant empirical evidence, that an accurate, locality-specific disease forecasting system can be built using call volume data from a public health hotline. Further, the scheme measures the number of calls received at a health hotline facility to forecast the numeral of dengue cases at a block-by-block level. Instead of allocating a large work force to collect block-by-block level data on disease incidences, we crowdsource these data using citizen inquiries and feedbacks,’ conveyed by Umar Saif, Vice Chancellor of Information Technology University, Punjab and Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board, which implemented the system in Pakistan. Our objective was to expand a system that could pinpoint the location inside a city where disease activity has increased so the government could perform targeted containment of a disease,’ conveyed by Nabeel Abdur Rehman, doctoral student at NYU. For the research, the team used more than 300,000 calls to the health hotline, set up in the aftermath of the 2011-dengue outbreaks in Pakistan, to estimate the number of dengue cases across the city and at a block-by-block level over an epoch of two years.