In an effort to escalate the global fight against mosquito-borne diseases, the United Nations environment agency together with partners has launched a new collaborative platform that seeks to track and control the vector responsible for close to 2.7 million deaths annually.
Dubbed the Global Mosquito Alert, the new initiative brings together thousands of scientists and volunteers from around the world working against mosquito borne viruses, such as Zika, yellow fever, chikungunya, dengue, malaria and the West Nile virus.
“The Alert will offer for the first time a shared platform to allow people on the ground to share their observations and information with a large body of scientists to help them monitor emerging trends in real time and leverage citizen science for the global surveillance and control of disease-carrying mosquitos,” said Jacqueline McGlade, the Director of Science at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in a news release Monday announcing the launch.
Built and maintained by UNEP, the platform provides real-time open data access to policy makers and the general public, using distributed networks, cloud computing, big data and improved search functions.
It is also the first global platform dedicated to citizen science techniques to tackle the monitoring of mosquito populations, which according to UN World Health Organization (WHO) estimates cause up to 500 million cases a year.
According to UNEP, information generated will help mitigate risk and reduce health threats while opening up an opportunity for the general public to contribute their mosquito observations and possible solutions.
This “crowd” data will augment information already available from Government and public health sources.
The Global Mosquito Alert will be supported by a consortium that includes Mosquito Alert, Spain; MosquitoWEB Portugal; Zanzamapp in Italy; Muggenradar in the Netherlands; the Globe Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper, USA/International and the Invasive Mosquito Project USA.