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FluPhone app 'tracks diseases'

5th May 2011

UK researchers have developed a mobile phone application which can track how infectious diseases such as flu disperse.

swine flu

Scientists at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory have created the FluPhone app, which monitors how diseases spread.

The application was installed on a number of phones and the researchers enabled the app so it could allow different phones to "talk" to each other and record the number of people each "infected subject" encountered in the course of an imaginary outbreak.

Seven institutions are involved in the project, which aims to lessen the strength of outbreaks.

The application uses Bluetooth technology in order to monitor contact between the subjects involved in the research.

When two volunteers' mobiles come within close range of each other, the app records the data and sends it to the researchers.

Professor Jon Crowcroft and Dr Eiko Yoneki, co-principal investigators of the study, stated that they thought the information could be employed to create a simulation of how people interacted during a real outbreak.

The team carried out a three-month FluPhone pilot study in Cambridge in 2010.

Dr Yoneki said: "The data was a valuable insight into how human communities are formed, how much time people spend together, and how frequently they meet."

"Such data show complex network-like structures, which is very useful for understanding the spread of disease."

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Article Information

Title: FluPhone app 'tracks diseases'
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 18375
Date Added: 5th May 2011

Sources

BBC News

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