Is artificial intelligence key to dengue prevention?

BreakDengue: “Dengue fever outbreaks are increasing in both frequency and magnitude. Not only that, the number of countries that could potentially be affected by the disease is growing all the time.

This growth has led to renewed efforts to address the disease, and a pioneering Malaysian researcher was recently recognized for his efforts to harness the power of big data and artificial intelligence to accurately predict dengue outbreaks.

Dr. Dhesi Baha Raja received the Pistoia Alliance Life Science Award at King’s College London in April of this year, for developing a disease prediction platform that employs technology and data to give people prior warning of when disease outbreaks occur.The medical doctor and epidemiologist has spent years working to develop AIME (Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology)…

it relies on a complex algorithm, which analyses a wide range of data collected by local government and also satellite image recognition systems. Over 20 variables such as weather, wind speed, wind direction, thunderstorm, solar radiation and rainfall schedule are included and analyzed. Population models and geographical terrain are also included. The ultimate result of this intersection between epidemiology, public health and technology is a map, which clearly illustrates the probability and location of the next dengue outbreak.

The ground-breaking platform can predict dengue fever outbreaks up to two or three months in advance, with an accuracy approaching 88.7 per cent and within a 400m radius. Dr. Dhesi has just returned from Rio de Janeiro, where the platform was employed in a bid to fight dengue in advance of this summer’s Olympics. In Brazil, its perceived accuracy was around 84 per cent, whereas in Malaysia in was over 88 per cent – giving it an average accuracy of 86.37 per cent.

The web-based application has been tested in two states within Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and Selangor, and the first ever mobile app is due to be deployed across Malaysia soon. Once its capability is adequately tested there, it will be rolled out globally. Dr. Dhesi’s team are working closely with mobile digital service provider Webe on this.

By making the app free to download, this will ensure the service becomes accessible to all, Dr Dhesi explains.
“With the web-based application, this could only be used by public health officials and agencies. We recognized the need for us to democratize this health service to the community, and the only way to do this is to provide the community with the mobile app.”
This will also enable the gathering of even greater knowledge on the possibility of dengue outbreaks in high-risk areas, as well as monitoring the changing risks as people move to different areas, he adds….(More)”