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News  14, Jun 2013

To hell with dengue with the power of crowdsourced information

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MosquitoAs an old adage goes, “There is power in unity.” And equipped with crowdsourced information, together we can kill those darn Aedes mosquitos.

Someone once said this in a conference: “In the jungle, it’s not the lions and tigers that will kill you. It’s the mosquitos.” And indeed, those darn insects are merciless. As dengue cases in Singapore leapt to an odd 9,000 plus in just six months, researchers at local Nanyang Technological University (NTU) might just have a way to predict where and when the disease might strike. The social-media based system, known as Mo-Buzz, can even forecast the attacks weeks in advance. This could very well potentially help monitor the outbreaks and prevent more from happening.

According to Channel News Asia, all you have to do is snap a photo of the breeding site on your mobile devices and it will send a report geo-tagged to your location to its system and show it live on Google Maps. Mo-buzz can also identify potential dengue breeding grounds by using data from past weather reports and dengue incidents. The system can also send users relevant information educating them about preventing dengue, and these then can be shared using social media platforms.

Principal investigator of Mo-Buzz, associate professor May O Lwin, said that health authorities can alert the public before the outbreak even starts, getting the information from Mo-Buzz. She added, “And at the same time, it is a source of information that they can get real time and be part of the civic engagement where information about the different types of dengue breeding grounds can be fed back to the public.” However, the app is still yet to be implemented, according to Straits Times. There does not seem to be a fixed date for release but I do think this will aid in curbing the outbreak which has already taken two deaths with it. This does appear to be the most efficient way and least time-consuming way to manage the hotspots and control the epidemic.

Image Credit: Nanyang Technological University

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Elaine Huang

Elaine Huang

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

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