Experts call for using GIS to halt outbreaks

Experts call for using GIS to halt outbreaks

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Hong Kong, 27 June 2006: Experts say computer imaging can be used to track the spread of disease, such as bird flu and identify areas of outbreaks so they can be ring fenced. GIS can be used to chart detailed maps showing exact locations of residential and office buildings, produce markets, chicken farms and any other sites where infections might have occurred.

“Anytime there is a new disease, the important thing is to georeference that information… where do the victims live, where might the exposure have taken place, did it take place at home, at work or recreationally?” said Charles Croner of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”The WHO is very concerned about the use of this technology so it can help improve disease detection,” he said.

Lai Poh Chin, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Hong Kong said, “Based on the mean center, you can track its movement and see it going in a certain direction.”