Outsmart the Outbreak: Leveraging Intelligent Epidemic Control Systems to Mitigate the Spread of Infectious Disease in Honduras

Outsmart the Outbreak: Leveraging Intelligent Epidemic Control Systems to Mitigate the Spread of Infectious Disease in Honduras

Introduction

Honduras, located in Central America, is the second poorest country in Central America [1] and is considered to have a high degree of risk of major infectious diseases. Recent hurricanes and tropical storm destruction, devastating an already weak Honduras public infrastructure, has increased the potential for infectious disease transmission throughout the country [2]. Due to a pervasive mosquito population, Hondurans are at significant risk of acquiring incapacitating mosquito-borne diseases [2].

In recent years, Hondurans have been faced with multiple epidemics, including the recent outbreak in 2013 of Dengue Fever, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Plague and Encephalitis [3]. These transmittable, vector-borne diseases (acquired through the bite of an infected insect or tick), have proved to be devastating to the Honduran people. According to Global Communities, although Honduras makes up only 17% of Central America’s population, it is home to 40% of the region’s malaria cases. And the majority of these reported cases are concentrated in specific areas of Honduras like Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Choluteca, Juticalpa and Comayagua [4].

The death rate for a majority of the diseases prevalent in Honduras can be reduced with an early diagnosis and appropriate care. However, the Honduran government and international aid organizations face considerable challenges in providing the necessary aid and support to combat these infectious diseases and mitigate the spread to other areas and countries. Often, infrastructure limitations such as lack of access to medical supplies, lack of access to clean water and geographical challenges prohibit many Honduran people from accessing timely and adequate treatment [5].

Honduras needs a solution that addresses these issues. Government officials need to be equipped with the proper data and information so that they can make timely decisions that mitigate the spread of a disease and it’s impact on the country as a whole. Knowing where an infected person has been, where they are going or what and whom they’ve come into contact with can be vital information to help treat and control the spread of an infectious disease.

Epidemic Control Systems (ECS), like Securiport’s specialized proprietary software, provides unique tools specifically aimed to curb the spread of an infectious disease by identifying possible carriers of the disease. Securiport’s ECS can provide immediate benefits to health management agencies, institutions and governmental authorities by providing common data collection, circle monitoring and link analysis. This whitepaper will go into detail on how an Epidemic Control System, like Securiport’s, can be highly effective at mitigating the impact and spread of an infectious disease.

History and Impact of Epidemic Crises in Honduras

Due to the environmental and geographical conditions of Honduras, Hondurans are faced with the possibility of contracting multiple infectious diseases. Environmental factors such as sewage, agriculture and industrial contamination of water and food supplies and localized air pollution pose a significant health risks. The pervasive mosquito population, coupled with hurricanes, tropical storms and extreme rainy seasons, significantly increases the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever and Malaria.

The risk of Dengue Fever is highest in urban environments and is increased in the rainy months. It is a viral disease associated with urban areas and manifests as sudden onset of fever and severe headache. The disease will occasionally produce shock and hemorrhage leading to death in 5% of cases [7].

Just last summer, Honduras’ Health Minister, Salvador Pineda, declared a state of emergency due to a massive outbreak of Dengue Fever. The number of Dengue Fever cases in Honduras tripled compared to the number of cases from the year before [6]. As the country struggled following political instability and gang violence, the Honduran government did not have the capacity to combat the disease without international aid [6]. It was critical for Honduras to not only receive support with treating the disease, but also to implement measures that could halt the rapid transmission of this deadly epidemic before it spread and potentially claimed more lives.

Malaria has also been a prevalent infectious disease in Honduras. Transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, parasites multiply in the liver attacking red blood cells resulting in cycles of fever, chills and sweats accompanied by anemia. Death is usually caused due to damage to vital organs and interruption of blood supply to the brain [7]. According to Global Communities, although Honduras makes up only 17% of Central America’s population, it is home to 40% of the region’s malaria cases [2]. The majority of Malaria cases and the highest risk to contract Malaria in Honduras occur in rural areas in the northern coastal lowlands and along the border with Nicaragua.

Improving Honduras’ infrastructure, especially along the border region will allow the country as a whole to improve infectious disease treatment and diagnostic services in rural areas, streamline national disease standards, and establish risk mapping services and information systems to disseminate critical prevalence data throughout the country [4].

Solution: Epidemic Control Systems

Securiport’s proprietary solution, the Epidemic Control System (ECS), is designed to operate within their Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS), and provides unique tools specifically aimed to identify possible carriers of an infectious disease and to control the spread of the disease.

Securiport’s ECS can provide immediate benefits to health management agencies, institutions and governmental bodies by enabling more effective contact tracing, and providing a common data collection platform to drive consistency in real-time data collection. The ECS also makes available Securiport’s proprietary Circle Monitoring and Link Analysis tools for use in contact tracing, which tracks the origins and paths of an individual’s journey to help identify individuals who may have been exposed to a current epidemic. In tandem with Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management and Profiling, the ECS analyzes current conditions and crosschecks databases to intelligently flag an individual depending on geographic incidence and national and international health databases.

Government bodies and aid organizations can benefit greatly from Securiport’s Epidemic Control System and Intelligent Information Management and Profiling. One of the more complex challenges in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases is managing the flow of infected individuals from one country to the next. Knowing where an infected person has been, where they are going or what and whom they’ve come into contact with can be vital information to help treat and control the spread of an infectious disease. Securiport’s tools help governments and aid organizations gather and analyze this data.

By providing intelligent biometric technology coupled with Link Analysis and common data collection, a consistent data platform is generated for use by governments and authorized international agencies in real-time. This empowers governments and aid organizations with the real-time, detailed information they need to effectively monitor the flow of people traveling across borders and ultimately to mitigate the impact and spread of an infectious disease.

Successful Past Performance

Securiport has built extensive experience assisting governments in tropical regions where epidemics are a common concern. Currently, Securiport’s Epidemic Control Systems are in place at immigration control posts across a total of seven West African nations, including Sierra Leone, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast, to assist in monitoring and controlling the spread of the Ebola virus as well as mitigate the health risks and economic impact. Governments in the region are faced with considerable challenges due to the lack of infrastructure and systems in place to monitor individuals’ contact with infected citizen, or transit through areas where infection has been documented.

As part of their ECS, Securiport has been providing Link Analysis during immigration processing, to help identify persons who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. Through contact tracing, government authorities are able to identify where a passenger has been, where they are going, and what or whom they’ve come into contact with. This kind of information is vital to mitigating the impact and spread of the virus to other regions.

Securiport has also been providing advanced biometric technology at immigration control posts that leverages ultrasound technology to provide accurate identity verification reporting. The biometric data is collected and integrated into a comprehensive database of traveler activity, and stored by the individual client governments in a secure cloud environment. Using cutting-edge data visualization and analytics, Securiport’s solution provides government and aid organizations with complex risk assessment modeling and contact tracing by leveraging big data to identify patterns and provide decision support metrics.

Through this approach of data gathering and analytics, Securiport empowers government leaders and aid organizations with deeper insights into the flow of travelers so that they can take action to curb the spread of the virus. Securiport also funds the implementation of the immigration systems at no cost to local governments, enabling rapid and cost-effective activation and operation.

Investing in Community Health & Safety

Knowing that local governments in developing nations are often lacking in funds and infrastructure, Securiport funds the implementation of Immigration Control Systems, and Epidemic Control Systems, at no cost to local governments, enabling rapid and cost-effective activation and operation. Securiport also provides an in-depth curriculum on the proper operation of their systems and analytical tools. Securiport’s experienced technical instructors are committed to transferring their knowledge of the industry’s best practices through a “learn-by-doing” pedagogical approach.

Securiport’s training team provides continuous engagement through the use of online tools, such as seminars and eLearning, which provide simulated training environments. By providing these solutions, Securiport is playing an active role in strengthening these countries’ infrastructure and security capabilities at international transportation links, while at the same time, improving security at immigration control posts and providing adequate contact tracing to curb the spread of infectious disease.

In addition to providing the technology to fight the spread of infectious disease, Securiport frequently contributes to nonprofit organizations that support disease mitigation and education. For example, Securiport recently partnered with the nonprofit charity, The Fund For Philanthropy (TFFP) to raise $75 million (US) to support the fight against the Ebola virus. In this sense, Securiport is committed to empower governments from both a technology and humanitarian standpoint

Conclusion

Honduran government officials and aid organizations need to be equipped with the proper data and information so that they can make timely decisions that mitigate the spread of infectious diseases and limit the negative impact on the country as a whole. Due to environmental and geographical conditions, Hondurans are at a high risk of contracting a number of vector-borne diseases such as Malaria, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis and Plague. The Honduran government lacks the proper infrastructure needed to provide the necessary aid and support to combat these infectious diseases and mitigate their spread to other areas and countries.

Securiport’s Epidemic Control System (ECS), Integrated Immigration Control Systems (IICS) and Intelligent Information Management and Profiling (IIMP) solutions can address these issues facing Honduras and empowers government officials and aid organizations with an effective way of monitoring an epidemic as well as individuals travelling between regions.

Through Data Collection, Circle Monitoring, and Link Analysis, the ECS enables more effective contact tracing, and provides a common data collection platform that drives consistency in real-time data collection. Coupled with Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management and Profiling solution, intelligent information reports are created that hold statistical data and traveler information which can be analyzed using data-mining techniques and complex comparison algorithms to address a variety of concerns.

References

  1. http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/honduras
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Hurricane_Mitch_in_Honduras
  3. http://www.indexmundi.com/honduras/major_infectious_diseases.html
  4. http://www.globalcommunities.org/node/37055
  5. http://www.msf.org/article/honduras-msf-fights-deadly-outbreak-dengue-fever
  6. http://www.coha.org/dengue-fever-honduras-gripped-by-a-deadly-epidemic/
  7. http://www.indexmundi.com/honduras/major_infectious_diseases.html