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New Frontiers in Digital Influenza Surveillance: An i-sense workshop

Home > News > New Frontiers Digital Influenza Surveillance I Sense Workshop


On 26th June 2014, leading experts in the field of big data and mobile health gathered at The Institute of Materials at Carlton House Terrace, London to hear talks and exchange ideas on the latest breakthroughs in digital flu diagnostics.

“Innovative”, “Great event”, “the big picture”, "very interesting": just some of the comments we received at our one-day workshop “New Frontiers in Digital Influenza Surveillance: Web Data and Mobile Phone-Connected Diagnostic Tests”. Jointly organised by i-sense and the Infectious Disease Research Network (IDRN), the sold-out event attracted over 120 delegates to discuss the latest technologies to track and test influenza.

Industry and academic experts demonstrated how they mapped mobile phone locations to assess effectiveness of public health interventions during the 2009 Mexican H1N1 pandemic and the creation of new mo­bile-phone connected tests using microfluidic chips, nanomaterials and surface acoustic wave sensors. The workshop also explored the use of online sources of data (e.g. Google search engine queries, Twitter) to identify disease outbreaks much earlier than current healthcare systems.

Two of the day’s highlights were talks on the power of the web for disease surveillance: John Brownstein on Healthmap, a global, real-time, disease outbreak monitoring system and John Edmunds on his Flusurvey platform, an online participatory questionnaire to track flu across the UK.

The impressive line-up of speakers included representatives from Google, Telefonica, OJ Bio, Harvard Medical School, UCLA, Columbia University, Cepheid, University College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Public Health England (PHE) and Imperial College London. You can view some of the talks here.

Panel discussions and a networking reception gave delegates an invaluable opportunity to follow up with academic and industry experts and form new, innovative partnerships in order to address the global risks and challenges of pandemic influenza.   

This was the first of a series of i-sense workshops focused on advancing the development of global early warning systems for infectious diseases. Make sure to check back on our events page for details of upcoming workshops.

Related links

i-sense announce major new collaboration with Flusurvey

i-sense collaborate with Google to track flu outbreaks

i-sense Early-Warning Sensing Systems for Influenza