Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Google Epidemiology

I was going to post another article on the progress of the Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, but it's not much different from the other articles recently posted. I couldn't find other interesting news so I started looking for fun facts to add to the ebola outbreak. I pulled out Laurie Garrett's book for a historical reference and started searching for outbreak locations online to figure out how far this recent outbreak is to the original 1976 outbreak. My efforts were in vain, apparently no online map bothers to record the positions of small African villages. Then I discovered something cool. Google maps has user generated content on ebola outbreak locations. Here's the link to the ebola map


I couldn't find any other diseases (I searched buzz words like avian flu outbreak and Lassa fever outbreak and HIV outbreak). I wondered if there was any publicly accessible world wide database with outbreak locations for other diseases. I'm envisioning a disease-map wikipedia where public health officials/workers all over the world could add info.

Incidentally, the new outbreak is in an entirely un-ebola-ized region, about 300 miles south from the first epicenter several decades ago and a couple hundred miles away from any other outbreak site.

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