- by Gary Finnegan

Breaking dengue – together

World Health Organisation report on eHealth highlights Break Dengue’s impact as an example of how technology and collaboration can help fight infectious disease

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 09.56.29BRUSSELS, 06 March, 2017 – A new WHO report highlights the Break Dengue project as a shining example of how to address the growing global threat of dengue fever. Break Dengue is an open initiative bringing together scientists, healthcare providers, patients, journalist and industry to meet this shared challenge. Together, this broad coalition of stakeholders is helping to track dengue outbreaks, connect experts around the world, and provides a platform for integrating approaches to dengue control.

The report – Global diffusion of eHealth: making universal health coverage achievablewas produced by the WHO’s Global Observatory for eHealth. It looks at how governments and organisations around the world are embracing eHealth, big data and information communications technologies to advance global health.

The authors note that, since its creation in 2013, Break Dengue has encouraged stakeholders to look at the bigger picture – rather than focusing on single aspects of the challenge such as vector control or vaccine development.

Latest innovation – Dengue Track

Harnessing the latest technological tools is essential to beating dengue fever. Break Dengue’s Dengue Track initiative seeks to capture data from internet users to fill epidemiological surveillance information gaps. In the future, these data sets will also include social media monitoring (Twitter microblogs or Facebook posts), tracking of Google search patterns, monitoring mobile phone use and crowd-sourced participatory disease surveillance tools. Break Dengue is partnering with the HealthMap team at Boston Children’s Hospital to create an innovative internet-based surveillance platform for dengue.

“Due to the complex nature of dengue fever transmission, efforts to decrease its spread require both effective collaborative models to bring together diverse stakeholders, and approaches that leverage the power and scalability that our connected world offers,” says Dr Mauricio Santillana Mauricio Santillana, PhD, a physicist and applied mathematician, at Boston Children’s Hospital. “By combining both of these aspects, Break Dengue is ideally positioned to catalyse the conception and implementation of innovative solutions to curb dengue.”

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Diana Zaharia, Communications Manager
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