It’s not just the athletes gearing up for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Health officials are, too.
They’re warning that the mass gathering of visitors from all over the world could produce ideal conditions for spreading infectious disease – and they’re using technology to prepare for the possibility.
Health teams from Canada and the United States are joining their British counterparts, using web-based data-mining techniques to analyze far-reaching, real-time medical information.
John Brownstein, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, says they’re looking at both who’s going to the event and who’s leaving. They’re analyzing “reports via news, social media and also direct reporting via our iPhone and Android apps” about departure locations and destinations, which will help prevent pandemics, such as the swine flu outbreak of 2009.