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Tracking Malaria via mobile phones

15 October 2012, 11:29 Roggers Momata

According to a recent research study carried out by Harvard School of Public Health, results have revealed that by use of mobile phones to track down calls and messages, a map can be construed of just how malaria spreads across a country; Kenya for instance.

In reference to the study which was published in the Journal Science, a total of about 15 million mobile phones were tracked by the researchers over a period of one year. It emerged that contrary to the heavily travelled roads in busy streets such as Nairobi, regional routes such as the ones around the Lake Victoria basin served as the vital routes for the easy spread of the disease. Also prone to the disease were areas and sections neighbouring the major hotspots for the mosquitoes carrying malaria.

In a detailed explanation given by the group’s leading researcher Caroline Buckee, she said, “Past assessments over the spread of the disease attempted to link the Coastal region together with the Lake Victoria region as the major contributory areas of the disease. Contrary to this analogy, a travel around the Coastal region revealed that it actually wasn’t a major source for the spread of the parasite. Most people who carry the symptoms were found to be asymptomatic. But when they do get bitten, they do transmit the disease to other mosquitoes.”

She also added that they had hopes that their findings would in future be used to develop an alert system via the resident’s mobile phones among other technological gadgets.

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