Posted: May 30th, 2022

The Role of Big Data and Data Analytics in Epidemic Handling

The Role of Big Data and Data Analytics in Epidemic Handling
Despite efforts to improve health systems, epidemics such as Ebola remains a major public health concern. The current COVID-19 epidemic has, in just a few months, spread all over the globe, infecting millions and killing thousands.
However, the advancement of big data continues to help society deal with such health dilemmas. Big data technology is now allowing researchers and emergency teams to monitor, contain, and reduce the spread of these infectious diseases. According to WHO, big data technology has played a significant role in helping China successfully contain and stop the spread of the novel Corona Virus.
Let us look at ways in which big data analytics is helping transform the approach to epidemics.
1. Timing is paramount
Effective response to epidemics relies heavily on timely intervention. This is also the main challenge when dealing with outbreaks. The unavailability of information in the initial stages of a pandemic has been of major concern. This may be as a result of sampling and testing delays, lack of proper tools, or failure to release data for publication. Governments and emergency teams are always fighting against time to prevent the spread of such infections once they emerge. Luckily, this barrier is slowly breaking down, especially with the introduction of digital tools that enables the sharing of data in real-time.
2. Disease Mapping
Through big data analytics, governments have been able to track and predict outbreaks in real-time. This was especially very useful during the Ebola crisis. International organizations used applications and other tech services to follow, collect, and analyze real-time data and develop appropriate measures to contain the disease. – top dissertation writing services
3. Social media data
Social media connects billions of people all over the world. Researchers have been able to use data from social media to predict the timing and geography of outbreaks and the spread of disease. For instance, the United States has used Twitter to predict when the influenza flu is most likely to peak. Data from social media can also be analyzed to gain insight on issues such as vaccination and levels of fear during a pandemic.
4. Monitoring movement through cellphone data
Understanding the movement of people during an epidemic can help trace the path of disease and come up with appropriate preventive measures to control the spread. During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, experts were able to track contacts of Ebola cases using GPS coordinates derived from cellphones. China has also successfully used the technology of the mobile device to track monitor and contain the highly infectious Corona Virus.
Big data analytics is transforming how epidemics are approached and managed. But looking at the impact of the current Coronavirus pandemic, we are still not prepared for the next outbreak. Despite the efforts, technological advancements of understanding epidemics are still not up to par.


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