Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Google: saving the world one internet-junkie at a time

According to Marcia Stone, for Microbe Magazine, has donated over $10 million within the last calendar year toward “Infectious Disease Surveillance Efforts.”

My favourite, and the most accessible to the general public, was a $3 million grant to the International Society for Infectious Disease ProMED-mail (Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases) program back in January 2009. The purpose of this financial award was to help strengthen the ProMED/HealthMap partnership. HealthMap is a digital surveillance program out of Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston. HealthMap takes information from ProMED regarding emerging infectious disease outbreaks, and produces global [web] maps depicting the outbreaks geographically. The hope is to eventually identify and respond to the outbreak of a novel pathogen and prevent the regional outbreak from becoming a global pandemic. One downside to the current website is that it only displays reported cases, thus leaving the numbers of cases depicted strongly biased. An important goal in utilizing these funds is to expand and develop networks in Africa and Southeast Asia.

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