Mapping the Risk of International Infectious Disease Spread

User-friendly Tool Mapping the Risks of Outbreak Events

Organization: International Society for Infectious Diseases/ProMED/Imperial College London/HealthMap/

Location: Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

Problem: In our increasingly interconnected world, it is crucial to understand the risk of an outbreak originating in humans or animals in one country or region and then spreading to the rest of the world. This has been done in the past for specific pathogens, but there is no automated probabilistic framework that allows real-time mapping of the risk of exportation of an outbreak event from country X to any other country Y.

Solution: ISID, along with Imperial College London, HealthMap, and, will develop and deploy a user-friendly tool to estimate and visualize risks posed by outbreak events reported on ProMED to the rest of the world by combining multiple data streams into a single probabilistic framework. Developed for one pathogen and focusing on one geographic region, the prototype will be designed to be rapidly scalable by extending it to pathogens of significance to humans and animals on a global scale. The system will inform public health experts, health care workers, and the public of the risks of an outbreak spreading, and will aid government and non-governmental decision makers globally in allocating resources and preparing for the possible importation of an infectious disease threat to their country or region.


Headshot of Larry Madoff

Larry Madoff, MD – Tufts University School of Medicine; Internal Medicine Residency, Cornell Medical Center; Infection Disease Fellowship, Harvard Medical School

"Infectious diseases are one of the major threats to humanity. Early detection, with transparent communication of events, and timely interventions are critical to preventing an outbreak from becoming a pandemic."

Headshott of Britta Lassmann

Britta Lassmann, MD – University of Vienna Medical School; Internal Medicine Residency, Mayo Clinic; Infectious Disease Fellowship, Yale University.

"To impact global health and work across national and regional boundaries to manage emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases."

Headshot of Maja (Malwina) Carrion

Maja (Malwina) Carrion – Elon University; Boston University; doctoral candidate, Boston University

"Our world is increasingly interconnected, bringing not only people and ideas together but also diseases and other threats…Now more than ever, early disease detection, surveillance, and modeling from reputable and transparent sources is essential to protecting the global community."

Headshot of John Brownstein

John Brownstein – PhD, Yale University

Headshot of Emily Cohn

Emily Cohn – MPH, Boston University

"HealthMap was founded with the intention of providing an aggregated source for real-time information on infectious disease outbreaks. Our main motivation is to discover innovative disease surveillance methods along with new ways to visualize and disseminate that information."

Headshot of Mark Herringer

Mark Herringer and Tim Sutton – Faculty Training Institute, Cape Town, South Africa

"Being exposed to the work of primary health care specialists in South Africa."

Pierre Nouvellet and Anne Cori – Imperial College, London

"During the West African Ebola crisis, a team in our department worked substantially to improve the situational awareness on the ground as well as to help inform the deployment of interventions. The need for a faster warning system became evident there and motivated our proposal."

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