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Online Mapping Tool to Track Animal Diseases
USAgNet - 02/10/2011

Health experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital Boston, the University of California at Davis, EcoHealth Alliance and other members of PREDICT have publicly launched a web-based, open-access map to help governments and health agencies track emerging infectious diseases across the world.

Announced at this week's International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance in Vienna, Austria, www.HealthMap.org/PREDICT delivers real-time intelligence from a number of sources to give users in more than 20 countries a comprehensive view on the current global state of infectious diseases and their effects on human and animal health.

The integration of digital and field surveillance data is a major component of the PREDICT project. PREDICT is a global early warning system created in 2009 as part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emerging Pandemics Threats Program. It was created to help develop global capacity to anticipate and prevent emerging infectious diseases through monitoring and identifying possible pathogenic threats at the human-animal interface.

"HealthMap.org uses the reach of the Internet to monitor and disseminate critical information to health officials around the world on the emergence of pathogens," said Dr Robert A. Cook, Executive Vice President and General Director of WCS's Living Institutions.

The freely available web site uses the HealthMap platform to bring together a number of data sources into a unified view on the current status of infectious diseases around the world by using an automated process to monitor more than 50,000 Web sources an hour, such as online news aggregators like Google News, eye-witness reports, expert-reviewed online discussions, and official reports from agencies such as the World Health Organization.

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