An online tool called HealthMap was used by experts in Boston to flag a "mystery hemorrhagic fever" in areas of Guinea nine days before the World Health Organization announced the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, according to the Associated Press.
The software uses algorithms to search through tens of thousands of news, social media, government and physicians websites to track disease outbreaks. Filters are used to gather relevant information and to identify diseases and point out their locations on a map, with the help of experts.
"It shows some of these informal sources are helping paint a picture of what's happening that's useful to these public health agencies," HealthMap co-founder John Brownstone said.
HealthMap was first introduced in 2006 and is run by a group of 45 researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at the Boston Children's Hospital. It was originally designed for public health specialists, but the system evolved during the swine flu outbreak. Now, it can generate information on locations of outbreaks, while also tracking new cases and deaths.
West Africa's Ebola outbreak is the largest of its kind in recorded history, killing more than 950 people.
Photo Credit: © castaldostudio - Fotolia.com
Learn more about HealthMap in the video below.
Read More Stories on Not Impossible Now
- In Ebola-Stricken Liberia, New Website Provides ‘Small Small’ Step
- Why 'Big Hero 6' Brought a Robotics Professor to Tears
- The Real Secret to Making Hendo Hoverboards Float? Teamwork
- Technology Could Help Subs Travel Across Pacific in Less Than 2 Hours
- Windowless Airplanes Streamline Manufacturing
- You Won't Believe What This Sweet Ride Depends on for Power
- Real-Life Iron Man Suits Being Tested
- Latest Greatest: Ditch Scuba Tanks for Crystals?
- This Apple Computer Is Worth $905,000. Here’s Why
- Neurologist Says Head Transplants Are Now Possible
- Tesla’s ‘Disappointing’ Announcement Shows How High Tech Bar Has Risen