Advertisement

Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 42–44 | Cite as

The Global Public Health Intelligence Network and Early Warning Outbreak Detection

A Canadian Contribution to Global Public Health
  • Eric MykhalovskiyEmail author
  • Lorna Weir
Practice
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

The recent SARS epidemic has renewed widespread concerns about the global transmission of infectious diseases. In this commentary, we explore novel approaches to global infectious disease surveillance through a focus on an important Canadian contribution to the area–the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN). GPHIN is a cutting-edge initiative that draws on the capacity of the Internet and newly available 24/7 global news coverage of health events to create a unique form of early warning outbreak detection.

This commentary outlines the operation and development of GPHIN and compares it to ProMED-mail, another Internet-based approach to global health surveillance. We argue that GPHIN has created an important shift in the relationship of public health and news information. By exiting the pyramid of official reporting, GPHIN has created a new monitoring technique that has disrupted national boundaries of outbreak notification, while creating new possibilities for global outbreak response. By incorporating news within the emerging apparatus of global infectious disease surveillance, GPHIN has effectively responded to the global media’s challenge to official country reporting of outbreak and enhanced the effectiveness and credibility of international public health.

MeSH terms

Public health surveillance epidemics news world health communicable diseases 

Résumé

L’épidémie récente de SRAS a renouvelé la crainte généralisée que des maladies infectieuses ne se propagent dans le monde entier. Dans le présent commentaire, nous analysons de nouvelles approches de surveillance mondiale des maladies infectieuses par le biais d’un important outil canadien dans ce domaine: le Réseau d’information sur la santé mondiale (RISM). Ce réseau est une initiative d’avant-garde qui mise sur la capacité d’Internet et sur la nouvelle possibilité d’obtenir une couverture mondiale en temps réel de l’actualité du domaine de la santé pour créer un système d’alerte rapide en cas de flambée épidémique.

Nous décrivons ici le fonctionnement et l’évolution du RISM, que nous comparons à ProMED-mail, un autre outil en ligne de surveillance mondiale de la santé. Nous faisons valoir que le RISM a été la cause d’un changement important dans la relation entre la santé publique et l’actualité. En contournant la hiérarchie de notification officielle, le RISM a créé une nouvelle technique de surveillance qui a perturbé les frontières nationales de notification des épidémies tout en ouvrant de nouvelles possibilités d’intervention mondiale en cas de flambée. En intégrant l’actualité dans le nouvel appareil de surveillance mondiale des maladies infectieuses, le RISM a réussi à relever le défi lancé par les médias aux organes nationaux de notification officielle des épidémies, tout en améliorant l’efficacité et la crédibilité de la santé publique internationale.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Heymann DL, Rodier GR and the WHO Operational Support Team to the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. Hot spots in a wired world: WHO surveillance of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2001;1:345–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grein TW, Komara KO, Rodier G, Plant AJ, Bovier P, Ryan MJ, et al. Rumors of disease in the global village: Outbreak verification. Emerg Infect Dis 2000;6(2):97–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fidler D. SARS, Governance and the Globalization of Disease. New York, NY: Palgrave, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Woodall, JP. Global surveillance of emerging diseases: The ProMED-mail perspective. Cad. Saude Publica 2001;17 Supplement:147–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zacher, MW. Global epidemiological surveillance: International cooperation to monitor infectious diseases. In: Kaul I, Grunberg I, Stern MA (Eds.). Global Public Goods: International Cooperation in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999;266–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    International Society for Infectious Diseases. http://www.isid.org (Accessed on November 18, 2005).
  7. 7.
    Hugh-Jones M. Global awareness of disease outbreaks: The experience of ProMED-mail. Public Health Reports 2001;116(Supplement 2):27–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Woodall J, Calisher, CH. ProMED-mail: Background and purpose. Emerg Infect Dis 2001;7(3):563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Woodall J. Official versus unofficial outbreak reporting through the Internet. Int J Med Inf 1997;47:31–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Factiva. http://www.factiva.com (Accessed on November 18, 2005).
  11. 11.
    World Health Organization. Revision of International Health Regulations. http://www.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA58/A58_55-en.pdf (Accessed on September 30, 2005).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hardiman M. The revised International Health Regulations: A framework for global health security. Int J Antimicrobial Agents 2003;21:207–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    St. John R. The Global Public Health Intelligence Network. Available online at: http://www.dtra.mil (Accessed on August 20, 2005).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Medina M. Time management and CNN strategies (1980–2000). In: Albarran AB, Arrese A (Eds.). Time and Media Markets. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003;81–95.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Garrett L. Understanding media’s response to epidemics. Public Health Reports 2001;116(Supplement 2):87–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    World Health Organization. A framework for global outbreak alert and response. Available online at: http://www.who.int (Accessed on July 20, 2005).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Enserink M. A global fire brigade responds to disease outbreaks. Science 2004;303:1605–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Heymann DL, Rodier G. SARS: A global response to an international threat. Brown Journal of World Affairs 2004;X(2):185–97.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations