Monday, February 15, 2016

Zika App idea

Back in the day, during the H1/N1 epidemic, we did this Flu Phone App to track people's encounters (via phone proximity using say bluetooth (could also use GPS tracking on phone, or even call data records with cell phone company cooperation, if you want less accuracy). The idea was to extract events when people self reported with symptoms, and then (in a privacy preserving manner) extracet the encounters between that individual and others (infected or not) in the population, and then to work out from this various epidemic parameters (susceptibility of different members of population, infectiousness, recovery rate, asymptomatic carriers/herd immunity levels in segments of population, etc etc), as well as possibly nailing elements of the vector....

So with the current Zika virus, it is pretty clear that it is spread by a particular mosquito type (the same as spreads Dengue Fever).

So we could take the app described above (and its reporting infrastructure) and
add one very simple thing - if the phone app turns on the mike, you can tell from sound whether there is one of these little beasties near you- wing sounds have characteristic frequency which is in audio range and sensitivity of human ear and certainly of the (usually better) microphone/audio system on a phone - more info about the Aedis Agypti sound of female mosquito which is the one you care about being not bitten by in terms of Zika.

If there were several people running such an app in the same location, you might even tll roughly where the mosquito was and avoid it (though that's a bit fanciful).

At least, however, you'd be able to look at the incidents of people being co-locaed with mosquitos of the right type, and the infection rate. ANd possibly (over time) look at the spread caused by an uninfected mosquito biting an infected person....thus
mosquito -> person -> mosquito ->person

of course, the same app might possibly also tell you of cases of person->person where there's no mosquito detected...which would also be useful data for epidemiologists

A thought.

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