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Medical researchers are building India’s first map of infectious diseases, one patient at a time

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  • Medical researchers are building India’s first map of infectious diseases, one patient at a time

    Medical researchers are building India’s first map of infectious diseases, one patient at a time
    The heat map – which goes online this month with dengue data from Karnataka – will help fill information gaps.

    These days, doctors at the Hosanagara Taluk Hospital in Karnataka are asking patients who come in with a fever a few extra questions. If a patient tests positive for dengue, the doctors visit his or her home and inspect the surrounding area for signs of the mosquito-borne virus. The patient’s village along with his immunisation record and other relevant information then goes into a national database. This database is slowly growing with information on infectious diseases across the country and the people suffering from them.
    ...
    Sudhir Krishna, professor with the Cellular Organisation and Signalling group at the National Centre of Biological Sciences in Bengaluru, brought the project team together. “We have created a consortium that is working towards building a digital heat map for India in infectious disease,” he said. “The current focus point for a variety of reasons is dengue and using a sub-set of Karnataka taluks, we do have a first graphic created by the Manipal Virus Centre.”

    The team intends to update the map regularly and make it interactive to allow users to post data on it. There will be around four levels of filters that will verify such data. “We want the map to be a one-stop resource for all infectious diseases in India,” said Krishna. “Of course, we may expand our vision later and add non-infectious diseases such as cancer and others.
    ...
    Dr G Arunkumar, professor and head of the Manipal Centre for Virus Research that is part of the heat map project, said, “We have no structured public health system in India. As of now, whatever evidence and data we have, it is not user-friendly to policymakers.”

    According to him, the heat map will help address many problems – the overuse of antibiotics, disease cases not being properly documented, and the wilful blindness of health departments.
    ...
    The team is collecting data from state-run primary health centres as well as private institutions. According to Arunkumar, 27 sites in 13 districts in 10 states will be covered. “Samples reach Manipal within 24 hours to 48 hours through special courier service,” he said. “The idea is to empower the local hospital to test and evaluate the disease.”

    https://scroll.in/pulse/831692/medic...ient-at-a-time
    Twitter: @RonanKelly13
    The views expressed are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer or any other person or organization.
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