Friday, October 19, 2012

Using cell phone data to curb the spread of Malaria

A great example of how the growing availability of data is providing new insights on very important health questions.

From the HSPH newsletter:

New research that combines cell phone data from 15 million people in Kenya with detailed information on the regional incidence of malaria has revealed, on the largest scale so far, how human travel patterns contribute to the disease's spread. The findings from researchers at HSPH and seven other institutions indicate that malaria, in large part, emanates from Kenya's Lake Victoria region and spreads east, chiefly toward the capital, Nairobi.


Quantifying the Impact of Human Mobility on Malaria

Amy Wesolowski, Nathan Eagle, Andrew J. Tatem, David L. Smith, Abdisalan M. Noor, Robert W. Snow, Caroline O. Buckee

ScienceVol. 338 no. 6104 pp. 267-270
DOI: 10.1126/science.1223467 


Human movements contribute to the transmission of malaria on spatial scales that exceed the limits of mosquito dispersal. Identifying the sources and sinks of imported infections due to human travel and locating high-risk sites of parasite importation could greatly improve malaria control programs. Here, we use spatially explicit mobile phone data and malaria prevalence information from Kenya to identify the dynamics of human carriers that drive parasite importation between regions. Our analysis identifies importation routes that contribute to malaria epidemiology on regional spatial scales.

No comments: