Pakistanis Have Created A New System That Can Predict Dengue Outbreaks

Outbreaks of dengue fever in summer in Pakistan has become a very common problem that is affecting more than 400,000 people every year. The problem has also taken away the lives of many Pakistanis since it became a recognizable disease in the country.

Now a research team in Pakistan has created a system that can forecast the outbreak of this disease by analyzing the calling behavior of the people. As people call health hotline more and more, the system recognizes this as an outbreak and alerts the authorities. The system is capable of forecasting the outbreak at least 2 to 3 weeks ahead before it gets out of control.

The system was developed by researchers from University of Washington, New York University and Information Technology University alongside Punjab Information Technology board in Pakistan. It is described as:

Developing worlds face challenges in tackling major outbreaks due to limited resources,” said co-author Fahad Pervaiz, a UW doctoral student in computer science and engineering. “Our technique will equip public officials with tools to inform them about where to apply these resources in advance and hopefully save millions of lives

The inception of this system came after the deadly breakout in 2011 when dengue took away 350 lives. This disease is still uncurable when it reaches a higher stage so the authorities are mostly looking towards preventive methods.

In order to determine the accuracy of the system, the research team used as many as 300,000 calls that were recorded through the health hotline. The results showed that there was a high level of accuracy when these calls were matched with actual cases.