Global Early Warning System Created to Watch Diseases that Pass from Wildlife to People

by Matt Ball on February 8, 2011

Building on the popular United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) HealthMap, the interface has now been extended to support a tool known as Predict to track the global outbreak of animal diseases that might jump to humans. The system is set to monitor health data from more than 50,000 websites, including news sites, the World Health Organization and the online discussion boards of health experts to filter information onto a map-based interface.

PREDICT has developed a SMART surveillance method (Strategic, Measurable, Adaptive, Responsive, and Targeted) that accounts for the fact that zoonotic pathogens, such as influenza and SARS, are responsible for the majority of emerging infectious diseases in people, and that more than three quarters of these emerging zoonoses are of wildlife origin. The SMART surveillance approach is designed to detect novel diseases with pandemic potential early, giving health professionals the best opportunity to prevent emergence and spread. It also targets sentinel animal species at active human interfaces in hotspot regions to improve surveillance efficiency.

The core partners include UC Davis, Global Viral Forecasting Inc., Wildlife Conservation Society and the EcoHealth Alliance, formerly known as Wildlife Trust.

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