Digital health tools tackle Zika and other health hazards of Rio Olympics 

The 2016 Olympic Games are, defiantly, upon us. In the face of Rio de Janeiro’s questionable quality of air, water, mosquito-borne disease control, plus high crime rates, public health officials around the world are bracing for the impact.So, where safety and public health interventions end, the apps are here to fill in the gaps. Most are focused on curbing the spread of Zika virus, which has the double whammy of being both mosquito-borne and sexually-transmitted. It’s a very real concern: Brazil’s government reports Rio de Janeiro has the second-highest number of Zika cases in the country, and the fourth-highest incidence rate. It’s not just Zika, either. Some are suggesting that Rio is so rife with health hazards, the Games will provide an excellent case-study for epidemiologists.The World Health Organization was the first to launch a mobile health intervention for Zika with the release of the WHO Zika App in March. The app was designed for health care workers and responders, but can be used by anybody and offers medical reference information about the Zika virus. The CDC has a list of recommended health apps, and the Global Warning System launched a few apps aimed at overall safety as well as one to aid people in finding urgent care.In July, the Brazilian Ministry of Health launched the Guardioes de Suade, which gives Brazil residents, attendees of the Games and an estimated half a million foreign visitors the ability to indicate their health condition daily by reporting specific symptoms typical of epidemics in the country. Launched in partnership with the US-based Skoll Global Threats Fund – which uses crowd-sourced surveillance efforts for mass events to collect information about the risk of disease transmission – the app is based on a similar app that was launched during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Source: Digital health tools tackle Zika and other health hazards of Rio Olympics | MobiHealthNews

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