Mobile Phone Data May Be Used to Reduce Disease Spread.
Cell phone information, and census models may be used to effectively predict the spatial distribution of infectious diseases, according to a study in Singapore which showed that location information can be used for tracking epidemics without threatening the privacy of cellphone users.
The analysis, published in the journal Scientific Reports, compared different versions of calling people’s freedom, and concluded that having access to cellular phone location information can be critical to understanding disease transmission dynamics.
They said this information can ultimately aid from growing into an outbreak, in preventing an outbreak.
As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), dengue incidence has increased 30-fold worldwide within the previous 50 years with 3.9 billion people in 128 nations — almost half the world’s population — exposed to the virus.
They discovered that even low levels of freedom could bring about the epidemic to propagate, underscoring the need for an effective spatial distribution version.
“Urbanisation, freedom, globalisation and climate change could be factors in the emergence of vector-borne diseases, even here in Europe,” stated Emanuele Massaro, ” the study’s lead author and a scientist in EPFL.
Massaro said research, until now, examined how the spread of diseases affected in larger regions such as countries or regions.
In the current study, he said, the investigators concentrated on the same issue, but in cities and towns.
“We wanted to research when people’s cell phone location information might prove useful,” he further added.
Employing an particular model where mosquitoes and humans are represented as agents which go through the outbreak phases of dengue, the investigators compared the way the system responded to an outbreak against real reported cases by 2013 and 2014 at Singapore.
Additionally they compared four different mobility models, each using different datasets — cellular phone location information, census documents, arbitrary freedom, and theoretical premises.
In each model, the citizens were assigned two locations – home and work – as places they visited every day and may possibly become contaminated.
The mobile phone model was predicated on anonymised device information sourced from a Singaporean phone operator, utilizing call, text, and other action records to pinpoint consumers’ home and work addresses, the researchers stated.
The researchers said phone location information is far better than yearly census records.
But they said, obtaining information from taxpayers’ telephones is an issue since the data is possessed by private companies.
Emanuele Massaro”We will need to think seriously about changing the law about accessing this type of data – not just for scientific study, but for broader prevention and public health reasons.”
The researchers said their model could equally be applied to some alternative ailments, such as malaria.