Episurveillance
2.8K views | +0 today
Follow
Episurveillance
21st century Epidemiological Surveillance. New maps, new formulas, new techniques.
Curated by Brian Altonen
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

9 confirmed Hawaii cases of new mosquito-transmitted disease

9 confirmed Hawaii cases of new mosquito-transmitted disease | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
A relatively new disease called Chikungunya has been spreading around the world. And now cases of the painful disease are showing up in Hawaii.
Brian Altonens insight:

A little bit of medical geography history trivia here . . . by 1800, the observations of yellow fever, as it was transmitted across the western hemisphere (not across Europe), led medical geographers to define the Law of Latitude for certain diseases.  This observation was first published in a United States medical journal, The American Medical and Philosophical Register, in 1814 (see http://brianaltonenmph.com/gis/historical-medical-geography/1814-the-latitude-of-pestilence/ ).  This 1814 article is the first epidemiological application of an observation published in 1759 in The London Magazine, as part of an article on epidemics and and their descriptions made by noted Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno in 1609.  He noted this curious latitude phenomenon was linked to a pestilential distemper outbreak that happened on board his ship as it explored "the western coast of California."  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Avian Flu Epidemic Prompts CDC Warning of 'Potential for Human Infection'

Avian Flu Epidemic Prompts CDC Warning of 'Potential for Human Infection' | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
The CDC has released an official advisory to warn health workers and clinicians of the potential for human infection of the devastating avian flu currently
Brian Altonens insight:

I guess the question for today is - - What does one do when he comes across a bag of dead poultry laying on the side of the road?  

 

Normally we don't report that kind of stuff in this upper NY town/city.  But being on the Hudson River, the primary route into this country for most foreign diseases, one has to be more attentive to biohazards and re-emerging disease possibilities.

 

There is this one street I commonly walk when I walk my dogs.  Today, the dogs were drawn to the smell of the large black garbage bag lying on the side of the road; it wasn't there two days ago.  Yesterday, we were all kept inside by a day of heavy rain.    

 

But this afternoon, my own curiosity immediately jumped several magnitudes to a sense of concern--due to the shape of whatever it was you could see through the bag.  My initial thought was that I could be looking at some legs, thighs to be exact, of a very young child---fortunately, after opening the bag, I could see that it was the breasts of some poultry probably raised in the back yard nearby; 3 chickens that had died, about a day or two ago based on the vermin.

 

However, it didn't occur to me until later today that this could have anything to do with the rising Avian Influenza concerns.  

 

Still not sure what to make of it.  Need to reassess my odds now.

 

What do you think?  Initial signs and symptoms?  Number of days I have to wait? 

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Hans Rosling: How to beat Ebola - BBC News

Hans Rosling: How to beat Ebola - BBC News | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
One year on from the WHO's official declaration of an Ebola outbreak, world-renowned statistician Hans Rosling discusses how West Africa has handled the virus.
Brian Altonens insight:

This is the presentation on Ebola from several months back--the predecessor to another presentation given by this expert in June, which I just posted (see "Ebola crisis: The tree thought to be the source of outbreak - BBC News" on this ScoopIt! page).  This presentation reviews the history of the Ebola crisis, and provides some helpful insights into how this poorly managed public health disaster came to be.  I am of course a little more critical of WHO than Prof. Rosling has been, due to the poor surveillance measures WHO and outsiders have engaged in, and the minimal progress medicine has made in spatial epidemiology since the 1990s.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

What You Need to Know About Anthrax Infections

What You Need to Know About Anthrax Infections | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
Anthrax is again making headlines after Pentagon officials announced on Wednesday that the U.S. military had inadvertently sent live spores to laboratories in nine states and South Korea. At least 22 people at Osan Air Base in South Korea are being monitored and were given precautionary medical measures because they "may have been exposed" to the spores during a training event, according to a statement from the air base. Here's a guide to anthrax to explain how someone can get infected and how it can be stopped or treated.
Brian Altonens insight:

A little more news about the mistaken shipment of live anthrax -- to nine states in the U.S. and to a US military site in Korea.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

A New, Terrifying Mosquito-Borne Virus Hits the United States

A New, Terrifying Mosquito-Borne Virus Hits the United States | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
A new disease called cikungunya is spreading in the US, spread by mosquitos in warmer countries.
Brian Altonens insight:
The real question I'd like to know the answer to is Who in Heath care didn't expect this to happen? It took under a year to establish itself as part of our ecology,. That is just one growing season. The same was true for West Nile.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Bioterrorism

Bioterrorism | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
From 1976 to 2000, my lab work focused on selective toxins, neurotoxicity and cell membrane/channel activities. I routinely gave lectures at SUNY SB from 1977 to 1985. PSU/ROTC in the 1990s. It is hard to believe that we handled chemicals back then the way we did. I present here the past, present and future of chemicals, biologicals, drugs, terrorism, and bioterrorism, with notes on chemical warfare, weapons, and human psychology, and the events and people that changed the world in this field.
Brian Altonens insight:

A number of decades ago I began my lab years researching neurotoxicology, primarily at the synapse level.  The arrow poisons were my focus.  Due to that research (and some special family upbringing) I developed a unique background in this field.  I was already trained in these products before attending college, and was fully engaged in TTX/TEA/Conotoxin and alkaloid/curare research by my sophomore year.  People who know we from the health science years, know me best for my presentations on toxicology, for which actual samples were brought to classes.  But that was the 1970s.  Today, it is too unsafe to bring vials full of curare, pokeweed mitogen, atropine, eserine, abrin and the like to the classroom setting.  

 

When the field of "terrorism" became known as "bioterrorism" about 15 years ago, the first cases of terror related anthrax and sarin use in weaponry seemed inevitable.   Like most of my projects, I like to immerse myself in the history of the profession as part of my research.  Over the years, this enabled me to put together this very unique set of presentation materials on the history of the various terrorism related fields and industries.  The origins of this field and its adaptation by western US culture and allies is reviewed, along with the expected reviews of this field's history on axis country settings.

 

Due to the growing interest in pathogen related bioterrorism, my review added the unexplored viral and bacterial diseases from other countries, about 5 years ago.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Meningitis cases triple in two weeks in Niger, more than 400 dead: WHO

Meningitis cases triple in two weeks in Niger, more than 400 dead: WHO | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - An outbreak of meningitis with "unprecedented features" is spreading rapidly in Niger, with a tripling of cases in the past two weeks, hundreds of deaths so far this year and vaccines in short supply, the World Health Organization said on Friday. The outbreak is predominantly caused by serogroup C, which is normally found in wealthy countries and has never been of high concern in Africa, where it has been seen only in sporadic cases and localized outbreaks, the U.N. health agency said. Vaccines against this form of the disease were in short supply and the outbreak was of particular concern because it was affecting more than one million people in densely populated urban areas including the capital, Niamey, its website said. Meningitis is common across the "meningitis belt" from Senegal to Ethiopia in the dry season between December and June.
Brian Altonens insight:

[Figure source: Friedrich Schnurrer. ‘Charte Uber die geographische Ausbreitung der Krankheiten . . . ’ (1827)]

 

This particular form of meningitis in Africa is a classical example of the spatial disease patterns first define in the late 18th and early 19th century.   The notion of latitudinal diseases probably began in the 1690s to mid-1700s when the fevers were completely mapped by Friedrich Schnurrer.   This 1827 (publ. 1828) global map of disease is in the process of being translated and reconstructed, provides important insights into the early endemic and epidemic spatial disease patterns of Africa. 


 

More than likely, the meningitis on this map appears amongst those few combined tetanus and fever patterns described by Schnurrer.  The traditional tetanus or lockjaw on this map is indicated by the older medical synonym "trismus."

 

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Needleless vaccine patch offers pain-free way to protect against disease

Needleless vaccine patch offers pain-free way to protect against disease | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
Imagine being able to vaccinate yourself against disease at home, by yourself, without doctor’s offices— or needles.
Brian Altonens insight:

Could this resolve a significant part of the problem we are having with immunizations?  

 

If so, that could imply the true reasons for not engaging has more to do with the needle itself, not the content of the vaccine that is administered.  

 

This would turn the arguments we have been hearing upside down.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Producing better targeted intervention results

Producing better targeted intervention results | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
Brian Altonens insight:

A simple way to tell the difference between neighboring regions is to magnify the results of your spatial data.   This method is used to define where the nidus or nest of a problem exists in the social or community setting.  It can also be used to define where to establish new clinics, or where to focus the bulk of of your intervention activities.    

 

The simple use of N versus N-squared for your indicator score helps define exactly where the highest risk regions exist.    

 

High risk is defined in two ways using this method.  The first is the standard amount of events or risk scores obtained per unit area evaluated statistically (n, incidence, prevalence, age-adjusted results, etc.).  The second is the simply square these results in order to identify the exactly location of your most needy community settings.  

 

This evaluation process requires just a few minutes to be run, in a standard HIT system.  It can be run at the local or neighborhood level, as well as the large area or regional level (like illustrated here).  

 

The two sets of figures provided come from the following two videos posted at YouTube:

 

N --   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbg6Z8Ylfm8

 

N-squared --   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If-HKIdoiuc

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

CBS News defends decision to show sarin gas attack on '60 Minutes'

CBS News defends decision to show sarin gas attack on '60 Minutes' | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
CBS News is defending its decision to air a video showing a 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria on Sunday's "60 Minutes."
Brian Altonens insight:

Sarin has an incredible history.  Whether or not it was made initially for use in chemical warfare is uncertain.  In the R&D section, it's inventor may not have known the full extent of the work he was doing.  And like any invention or discovery, the right mindset can move a new product along another much faster path to utilization.  My full coverage on the HISTORY of bioterrorism, with uncommonly cited historical points, is at my pinterest folder (600+ images) "Bioterrorism",  at

https://www.pinterest.com/altonenb/bioterrorism/ ;

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Fatal Brain Disease in US Man Likely Came from UK Beef

Fatal Brain Disease in US Man Likely Came from UK Beef | Episurveillance | Scoop.it

(Note: the case displayed in the figure is not linked to the news item linked to this ScoopIt!)  

 

"A U.S. man who developed a rare and fatal brain disease likely got the disease from eating beef while living abroad more than a decade earlier, according to a new report of the case. Because the condition, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, is so rare, the man was misdiagnosed and even hospitalized for psychiatric symptoms multiple times before doctors suspected the true cause of his symptoms, according to the report from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Baylor College of Medicine. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is thought to arise from eating beef contaminated with infectious prions, which are proteins that fold abnormally and form lesions in the brain. In the United Kingdom, there have been nearly 200 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease tied to eating contaminated beef in the 1980s and 1990s."

Brian Altonens insight:

The value of a single ongoing surveillance Medical GIS is always having the back up data to go to when a new epidemiological event ensues.   CJD has a history in the US.  This history can be linked to other animal-related midwestern disease patterns, some ecological, some not, such as culturally-linked kuru, elk-related Chronic wasting disease (CWD)/transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), and of course all the tick borne diseases.  

 

My 3D video map of Creutzfeld-jakob cases is at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZVb1trlMeY   A review of this section of my youtube will also provide links to kuru and a host of others, some never mapped before to this extent in U.S. medical history.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Stigma stalks India's leprosy sufferers as disease returns

Stigma stalks India's leprosy sufferers as disease returns | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
Ganga Kalshetty was just two years old when India declared itself leprosy-free in 2005, giving her family hope that she would be spared the disfiguring disease and its social stigma. Kalshetty lives in one of India's dozens of informal "leper colonies", where many of her relatives are afflicted with the disease. Seven months ago her worst fears came true when she, too, was diagnosed with the disease. "I don't want to suffer like her," the 12-year-old told AFP as she glanced at her grandmother's clawed hands, a hallmark of leprosy sufferers, at the family's home in New Delhi.
Brian Altonens insight:

There are four major forms of "leprosy" in the world, each with its own regional distribution.   The "return" of such a "traditional" form of disease as leprosy has a number of theories attached to it.  Defining the primary cause for this return is essential to its control.  Any plans for eliminating leprosy 'once and for all' is the wrong goal to set.    The WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record on this from 2012 is available for reading at  http://www.who.int/wer/2013/wer8835.pdf?ua=1 

 

My U.S. mapping of bacterial leprosy cases, in video form, is at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--34Yl1KYUk 

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Antibiotic-Resistant Germs Target Of New White House Plan

Antibiotic-Resistant Germs Target Of New White House Plan | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly.
Brian Altonens insight:

Isn't this a conflict of interest?  Doesn't the US Government also engage in biowarfare (the recent news about patenting a Ebola by the CDC/NIH)?  One office makes the deadly pathogen deadlier.  The other strives to prevent new ones from emerging.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Islamic State working to develop chemical weapons: Australia

Islamic State working to develop chemical weapons: Australia | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
The Islamic State group has shown it is prepared to use chemical weapons and is likely to have among its recruits the technical expertise to develop them, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said. In a speech late Friday, Bishop said Australia had no doubt that the Syrian regime had used toxic chemicals including sarin and chlorine over the past four years.
Brian Altonens insight:

At https://www.pinterest.com/altonenb/bioterrorism/ , ;

I published the most detailed review of the history of bioterrorism, terrorism, chemical weaponry and biowarfare.  This work began during my years as a neurotoxicologist (sarin, TTX, TEA, CTX, dTC, digitaloid, alkaloids specialist) in the late 70s/early 80s.  I continued it while teaching medical chemistry on the west coast with the department of chemistry; my specialty then was BIQ alkaloids and their selective toxicology for the next 10 years.  

A few years ago, I gathered together my various slides, materials for handouts, etc. for my classes on these subjects and used them to produce this pinterest site on the history of Bioterrorism.

 

This is the history of chemical and biological warfare, with a focus on the last 2 centuries, and especially how this field of military theory and science came to be.  When reviewing it, note that it is in reverse chronological order; I published the oldest parts of this history first.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Anne Geddes offers portraits of meningococcal disease

Anne Geddes offers portraits of meningococcal disease | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
Anne Geddes has revolutionized photography with her images portraying babies and motherhood, but now she is using her talent as a visual storyteller to raise awareness about meningococcal meningitis.
Brian Altonens insight:

A unique way to fight the anti-vaccination movement!  

 

Subtly hit the parents and family where it hurts--"the spirit of young people" and the value(s) parents place upon the health and quality of life of their child.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Ebola crisis: The tree thought to be the source of outbreak - BBC News

Ebola crisis: The tree thought to be the source of outbreak - BBC News | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
Filmmaker Dan Edge investigates why the Ebola crisis of 2014 was not contained sooner and visits the tree thought to be the source of the outbreak.
Brian Altonens insight:

BBC often produces some of the best disease ecology specials--this comes as no surprise.  

 

The role of Great Britain in medicine has long included efforts that few other nations could afford to take during the 19th century.  The British Empire made Great Britain, its medical scientists and practitioners, the experts they have become in tropical disease and disease ecology research, sanitation and population health, geographic medicine and medical geography, and especially GIS and spatial disease theory.  

 

The specials that BBC produces on the natural history events related to zoonotic and wildlife disease are often some of the best places to learn how to review the geography of diseases and medicine.    Throughout much of the 20th century, the United States reduced its attention to geography, and interpreted it more from an environmental science, ecological sense.  

 

British approaches to medical geography however remained true to the theory of geography, for which reason the likelihood of geographic success and accomplishments in health care tend to be seen in the practices of medicine and epidemiology in Great Britain, not the United States.

 

The best evidence for this is the numbers of items published over the centuries about geography and disease by researchers and scientists from Great Britain.  More convincing evidence is found in the late 20th century work on medical geography, which turned it into a field that would rapidly advance throughout the remaining 1990s.  

 

When the U.S. turned its attention back to the concept of geography, it already had barriers in place to prevent the concepts of geography and space from becoming a part of the epidemiological training.  U.S. epidemiologists are true scientists.  They are trained in the environment and ecology, but concepts like sequent occupance and hexagonal grids are far from being understood by most of them, even the more modern medical geographers.  

 

There is a distinct difference between epidemiology, and spatial epidemiology.  And an even greater difference between spatial epidemiology and medical geography.  Medical geography is not the same thing as geographic medicine--this we were taught back in the 1980s by British and British Colonial writers and thinkers.  To improve the United States teachings on geography, we need to embrace those scholars we turned our noses at these past 75 years.  

 

With Medical GIS now a potential addition to the global episurveillance system, ethnocentricity about what this science truly is has to be eliminated.  Otherwise, only British scientists and the BBC will be producing the most informative Medical Geography and Medical GIS informatic programs and classical news and educational film series for decades to come.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Pentagon Sent Live Anthrax Samples to Labs in 9 States and 1 in South Korea

Pentagon Sent Live Anthrax Samples to Labs in 9 States and 1 in South Korea | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
Watch the video Pentagon Sent Live Anthrax Samples to Labs in 9 States and 1 in South Korea on Yahoo News . CDC is investigating incident that doesn't pose a risk to the public.
Brian Altonens insight:

An update on this CDC admin failure.  

 

"They thought that these spores were dead . . . and were not?" 

 

 

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

WHO shake-up approved after Ebola debacle

WHO shake-up approved after Ebola debacle | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
The World Health Organization got the go-ahead Tuesday for a sweeping shake-up, including a $100-million war chest to battle future emergencies following the Ebola fiasco. Delegates from 180 countries at the annual World Health Assembly, which ended Tuesday, approved plans for a contingency fund to tackle future emergencies, which will be reviewed after two years. The pilot project will be financed by "flexible voluntary contributions", according to WHO chief Margaret Chan.
Brian Altonens insight:

So let's go back to the 9-11 events and the large amounts of money allocated for new prevention programs after that.   How much of the original plan CDC and NIH had about National Defense and Homeland Security actually came to be, and how much of the original plan was dropped for the more contemporary alternatives?    Now, relate this to WHO . . . 

 

Inattentiveness, then recognition, then failure, then the shake-up, and now more financing.   

 

Will WHO produce a successful plan with its $100 million war chest? or will parts of those expenses be temporary, and the finances lost or unaccounted for?   

 

Which of these "fiascos" will WHO tend to first?    . . . Restaffing?  higher talents with better education?   true leaders?  non-political decision makers? new directors, or even higher?  better, more health-minded correct decision makers?

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Orthodox Jewish New York baby gets herpes from circumcision

Orthodox Jewish New York baby gets herpes from circumcision | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
A fourth baby has contracted herpes in New York this year following a controversial circumcision called metzizah b'peh, a ritual in the Orthodox Jewish community.
Brian Altonens insight:

This really is a recurring problem in the United States.  The last news item I posted to about this was about 2013.  

 

The sociocultural aspects of this problem that complicate it are the histories of some individuals carrying the Herpes, who are allowed to continue to engage in the ritual in spite of a documented medical history, that is even kept secret.    

 

Managed care rarely does a full evaluation of cultural aspects of its population, in spite of the positive intervention work these activities can result in.  The reasons for this focus on difficulties obtaining reliable data, but also several conceptual problems such as ascertaining the truth about the sociocultural [SC] adherence patterns for patients, a lack of knowledge about the traditional practitioners, and the impacts of mixed culturalism on certain communities where SC defined ICDs should monitored in terms of incidence on a quarterly or month basis.    

 

The most important lesson here is differentiating between culturally linked and culturally-bound ICDs when performing your population health analyses.  

 

A full SC reporting method was developed several years ago for African American, Hispanic and Special Social-Religious groups.  A very complete review of this topic appears on my personal site (4 webpages worth).  Examples of my work are published as a part of my Pacific Northwest public health analysis carried out from about 1990 to 2003, presented, and then summarized in 2009.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Mosquito known to carry yellow fever, other viruses found in Hayward

Mosquito known to carry yellow fever, other viruses found in Hayward | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, native to Africa, was detected in Alameda County for the first time in late April or early May. It has now been detected in 10 California counties, including San Mateo.
Brian Altonens insight:

This is par for the course for the evolving foreign born diseases problems in the press.  I cover the possible in-migration of diseases extensively at my educational blog on Medical GIS.  

 

Foreign Born Disease Intrusion has two factors to consider when proposing a prediction model.  Besides place and time, sequence has always been important to understand.  As past epidemic pattern re-emerge in future years, there is a method to the order in which they progress.      

 

Social inequity is a very significant reason for these patterns.   Inequity abroad gives reason for the desire to migrate to a new countries.  Inequity within that country for new diseases to re-erupt.

 

California is also impacted by numerous other in-migrating disease patterns.  See the following videos for examples of this growing problem:  

 

Brazilian Blastomycosis  -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPgOWoC1lO8.

 

Pinta -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCTueptEHlc

 

Chiclero's Ulcer -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmLlfLze1Lo 

 

Venezuelan Encephalitis -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuKuvqAlZFU 

 

Asiatic Cholera, El Tor -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5tccQopKFE 

 

Together, these define possible in-migration routes from the south and expected diffusion patterns.

 

A past filed page on this, for other parts of the world, is at http://brianaltonenmph.com/2015/04/22/the-next-outbreak-in-evolving-disease-migration-patterns/

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

School shooter didn't plan to hurt students -- How to "GIS" this, Without GIS?

School shooter didn't plan to hurt students --   How to "GIS" this, Without GIS? | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
SEATTLE (AP) — A 16-year-old boy who fired two gunshots Monday inside a Washington state high school, hitting no one before a teacher tackled him, told detectives he never intended to hurt any students, a police spokesman said.
Brian Altonens insight:

What are the spatial determinants for this?  Population density?  Rural versus urban?  Pop culture in the school setting?  Large schools versus small schools?  Socioeconomic Status?  Levels of Education? Social and cultural labels?  Race-ethnicity patterns?    

 

EMR/EHR should be capturing this data right now.  This means that in a year or two, maps like those on display can be produced using your HIT system.  The priorities to accomplishing this goal (in descending order) should be: data completeness, SQL, skillsets, SAS or equivalent (non-GIS), long term storage capacity, virtual space for rapid data description, analyses and reporting.  

 

The above dataset took just 7-15 minutes to pull and generate 750-1000 maps with, and another hour to produce the video.  For reporting purposes of course, there is no need to make the video.  No GIS was required.  Only the most basic, most standard systems HIT tools.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Natural Poisoning Cases - YouTube

http://youtu.be/GvdzdBTyO2I NaturalPoisoningCases 0536 7
Brian Altonens insight:

Mapping out poisoning cases is a use for NPHG that is pretty much indisputable.  So what does it teach us?  

 

This video is a demonstration of the natural versus human ecology of venomous animals, inferred by the distribution of envenomation cases related to these animals.  An interesting portrayal of cases related to outdoor activities, for comparison with animals with spatial distributions defined by indoor, personal pet keeping practices.

 

This result may also be related to in-migration of animal vectored disease patterns, and respiratory conditions generated by hypersensitivity to animal dander.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Obama pledges US aid in wiping out last traces of Ebola

Obama pledges US aid in wiping out last traces of Ebola | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
President Barack Obama met on Wednesday with the leaders of three Ebola-stricken West African nations, vowing US help in wiping out the last vestiges of the often deadly disease. "We begin by noting the incredible losses that took place in all three countries," Obama said during his meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Guinean President Alpha Conde, and Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma. Obama hailed the "great courage and resolve" of the three nations where the current Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 10,000 lives, and promised continued US support to help prevent future outbreaks, even as the numbers of infected people subsides. Obama said in addition to the lives lost, Ebola has exacted a tremendous toll on the economies of the three West African countries.
Brian Altonens insight:

Ecological diseases just don't go away.  They cannot be easily eliminated.  

 

If this were the case, yellow fever would have been eradicated, or perhaps even Asiatic cholera and a host of other well studied vectored diseases.

 

Also working against this possibility is our lack of knowledge of the full history of ebola.  We only started documenting several decades ago, but my review of the historical epidemiology literature and translation of the documents, including an 1827 map (see http://www.scoop.it/t/an-episurveillance-researchers-guide/p/4029834704/2014/10/14/is-there-an-early-history-for-ebola-preliminary-review-says-yes and http://www.scoop.it/t/episurveillance/p/4034195329/2014/12/25/earlier-outbreaks-of-ebola-zaire-congo-river-1816-niger-river-1841) which notes an ebola like disease, suggests this epidemic was first documented during late 17th, early 18th century colonial exploration periods, a hypothesis that is strengthened by two other events I uncovered for the 19th century colonization period, dealing specifically with the Ebola zones in Africa.   

 

This implies that we do not know the full extent of ebola history or capability of its diffusion processes.

 

Finally, all spatially (globally) spreading diseases progress as they continue to infect new parts of the globe.  Cholera's spread increased in size and regional type (and biodiversity) as a result of this diffusion process.  So too will the ebolavirus species.  Once this epidemic is over, the next one could demonstrate an even greater impact--infecting new countries . . . or worse.  

 

Like cholera and yellow fever, the pests behind malaria, typhus, the plague, and others that seemed travel internationally in the past, I expect the ebolavirus to progress naturally, and reach its natural peak, establish some new ecological domain(s), and then reduce its number of chief events, stabilizing within these new domains.   Like Vibrio cholera variants accomplished for various deltaic settings over the past two centuries.

 

 

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Hexagonal Grid Analysis - An Update on Recent Trends

Hexagonal Grid Analysis - An Update on Recent Trends | Episurveillance | Scoop.it

At 91,000 hits per year, my website on GIS and Medicine has been growing at a rate of about 16k total hits per year.  I initiated it in 2009.

 

My page on hexagonal grid analysis receives a consistent number of hits, with the accompanying page/link for downloads of the hexagonal grid modeling formulas and excel file (with formulas) receiving slightly less.  

 

Hex grid mapping is one of the most popular topics, and is very much ahead of the time.  I developed this method of analyzing health in the winter of 2002/3, twelve years ago.  As expected, professionals ignore it for the most part, and have come up with some very interesting reasons for why they are not making it a part of their learning process.  

 

This method was successfully applied at the state level to demonstrate the spatial relationship between exposure to chemicals and leukemia/lymphoma case reporting.  It cuts the spatial error generated by grid modeling by about two-thirds (from 43% potential error per square mile to 17% error for the same area).  

 

So why not pursue it?  I have not released an automated tool version of it as of yet, so using it requires some understanding of the underlying math and logic.  You also have to know which projections work best with it -- the latter being a skill often lacking in former CAD users, now serving as GIS program managers and directors.

 

Canada is now the country that is using my hex grids the most, based on emails/feedback I am getting.  Great Britain (GB) however is the historical leader in hex grid mapping, and had produced a very intelligent and useful hex grid method for monitoring everything possible about GB's climate, people, environment and health.  

Brian Altonens insight:

The isolines that are developed from hexagonal grids are more accurate and visually appealing than those generated using a traditional square cell grid technique.  

 

A fairly detailed statistical analysis I performed comparing square cell grids to hex cell grids demonstrated there to be a 42% of error with square grid cells due to corner-centroid spatial relationships.  With hex grids, this relationship is reduced to 16%-17% potential for error in spatial assignments.  

 

The hex cell method is by far more reliable and useful than the traditional square cell method, yet 90% or more of GIS analysts rely upon the more error prone older methods.  

 

The number of visitors at my site on medical GIS for hex grid training is unique, and consists mostly of students, who are engaged in some sort of GIS lab project or producing a project in GIS to hand in as a term project or paper.  

 

One way to understand the ingenuity of a GIS user is to determine how exposed and familiar he/she is to the applications of grid modeling, and the benefits of hex grid methods over square grid methods.  

 

For grid mapping spatial analysts, until hex grid cell methods are employed, esp. for medical GIS, we will always be dealing with the >40% spatial error problem for our work.   

 

The major advantage of grid mapping is that it does not require base mapping, or even the use of a background GIS to produce your results.  With the hex grid method, we could avoid the need for a regular GIS to produce our results (a popular early 1990s philosophy amongst us grid analysts), but hex grid mapping techniques provide a greater benefit and more useful graphic output when developing using a standard vector GIS tool for the spatial analysis.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen
Scoop.it!

Bill Gates Tells The World: Get Ready For The Next Epidemic

Bill Gates Tells The World: Get Ready For The Next Epidemic | Episurveillance | Scoop.it
In a strongly worded essay in The New England Journal of Medicine, the philanthropist calls for a global system to respond to future medical emergencies. We ask experienced Ebola hands to weigh in.
Brian Altonens insight:

"Because there was so little preparation, the world lost time ... trying to answer basic questions about containing Ebola," writes Gates . . . "the world needs a global warning and response system for outbreaks."  


And so what does "the world" need to be better prepared?  Can WHO and CDC make the needed changes to prepare for another outbreak.  If an outbreak comparable to the Ebola experience were to initiate next month, how many of the events that follow would become repeats of the 2014 experience?   Will an earlier response by WHO and CDC result in a more effective program?


In 2003, due to 9-11, extensive amounts of money were spent by NIH and CDC on the establishment of the current Homeland Security, with bioterrorism a major concern.  The first task for this program was to design a response plan for a measles outbreak close to New York City.   The requirements included identifying 10,000 possible respondents to serve at a biohazards field hospital site, under the assumption that less than 50% would actually show up to the field hospital.  The newest forms of laptop technology, including satellite communications and field surveillance tools, were included in this project.  


Two years following commencement of this plan, it began its decrease in size and importance to less than 20% of the original program, with voluntary participation optional for all wishing to contribute.  Very little of that program exists today, a decade later.


This suggest that the initiation of a new Global Outbreak Response Program today could wind up suffering from deterioration by 2015.   The ways in which governments, WHO and CDC operate, is it even possible to design a plan with five years longevity or persistence?   

No comment yet.