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International hackathon to predict zika- och dengue outcasts

umbraco.MacroEngines.DynamicXml
2017-06-22

Umeå researcher Joacim Rocklöv has developed an internationally recognized model for predicting outbreaks of infectious diseases. On June 20 to 22, he is hosting a three-day hackathon at Sliperiet at Umeå university, where research, WHO and Microsoft have met to jointly develop digital support that can predict and reduce the risk of outbreaks of dengue fever and zika virus infections caused by the Aedes mosquito.

"We want decision makers to be able to react proactively to outbreaks of these viral diseases instead of afterwards, when it's really too late, as unfortunately is common," says Joacim Rocklöv, researcher at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.

The aim of the hackathon is to develop digital support, a platform and a warning system that can gather legitimate information on dengue and zika in one place and facilitate for decision makers to make well-grounded decisions in connection to the outbreak of zika virus or dengue fever. Their hope is that the platform will eventually reduce or even stave off epidemic outbreaks.

"Furthermore, we want to insert social dimensions into the warning signals contained in the system and get the information out in social media. For example, we can use the geo-codes contained in social media to see how people move in and between cities and countries - which can say something about the spread of infections. Or, we can see how people express themselves as they discuss the diseases in social media - how they describe symptoms, their concerns or how they protect themselves against infection. It can, among other things, provide insights into how people get information about viral diseases, "says Joacim.

The Hackathon is the first in a series of three hackathons this year, in different places in the world. Joacim Rocklöv has assembled an extremely broad and competent group in Umeå, consisting of eleven researchers and experts from the WHO, Microsoft and the health ministries in Mexico and Malaysia. The latter are important for the WHO, who wants to test the prototypes the team is developing in true situations, in countries that are severely affected by virus diseases caused by the Aedes mosquito. The team originates from nine different countries and represents about as many different areas of specialization and disciplines.

Read more:

Informaton about the zika virus and dengue fever (in Swedish): Folhälsomyndighetens hemsida

News from the Faculty of Medicine: " Hackfest" gathers experts to develop data program that can predict epidemics"

For more information about the Hackathon, contact:
Joacim Rocklöv, Researcher, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine
Joacim.rocklov@umu.se| +46 70-636 16 35