Yellow Fever, Zika and The Role of Connected Products
Sports enthusiasts from across the globe are about to converge in Brazil for this summer’s Olympics, amid news of two major epidemics rapidly spreading around the world. Concerns are rising over Yellow Fever in Angola, while the Zika Virus strengthens its grip on Brazil’s population.
How Can We Prepare?
This is not the first time we’re faced with the possibility of multiple major epidemics, but thanks to recent developments in IoT and smart technology we do have the opportunity to be better prepared than ever before, starting with the help of connected medical devices.
Kinsa CEO Inder Singh speaks on the potential health crises we face in the coming Olympic events, urging attendees to take precaution through consistent health monitoring.
According to Singh, there are a few things global health teams can do in advance of major events like the Olympics.
“You can try to screen the borders and make sure it doesn’t come in. However, there are only so many ports you can guard against. You can also try to make sure the population is vaccinated to begin with. If you have limited vaccines, as is the case with Yellow Fever, that’s a problem. The third thing you can and should do is monitor.
Early detection is all about monitoring and evaluating how an illness is progressing.”
The Role of Connected Products
Connected devices can be instrumental in monitoring efforts, both pre-exposure and post-exposure. According to Singh, the tools required are in fact quite simple. “Literally connect the thermometer you’re already using to the internet and you can have systems in place to respond to the spread of disease.”
Having a smart device in the moment, collecting data in real time, can help overcomes issues we face when trying to monitor an illness manually during a crisis.
“Things like the Hawthorne Effect, observer bias and transcription errors are all done away with when we can see real time data around the growth rate of that disease.”
The application of a monitoring system that’s accessible to the general public can make a major difference, particularly this summer when Olympic attendees return to their home countries.
“With the help of connected devices, you even don’t need information from physicians - you can monitor remotely.” Singh believes this information can help authorities understand where an outbreak may pop up next and allocate resources accordingly.
Ideally, however, these devices would be in place ahead of time. “If you have these acute tools in place before a crisis happens, authorities can respond even earlier and be able to curb the spread of that illness from the get-go.
Because you now have an acute illness tool, you’re seeing data in real time, well before authorities would ever report it.”
An Air of Familiarity
Today's global health climate feels familiar to Singh who remembers vividly in 2014 when cases of Ebola began spreading to US soil. “Just like in Texas and New York when Ebola was breaking out and people were really worried, what we were told is we need to do fever monitoring if anyone has been exposed to these patients. In this case as well, fever is always the earliest indicator.”
It’s difficult to predict what the world will face in the aftermath of the Olympics, but it was with situations like this in mind that Kinsa was created. We wish attendees, competitors, coaches and families well and urge all involved to closely monitor their health before, during and after the events.
Be prepared before the outbreak hits. Get your Kinsa Smart Thermometer today at kinsahealth.com.