Development of a GIS-based, real-time Internet mapping tool for rabies surveillance
Blanton, Jesse D
Hanlon, Cathleen A
Rupprecht, Charles E
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Abstract Background Oral rabies vaccination programs have been implemented to control the spread of wildlife rabies in the United States. However, current surveillance systems are inadequate for the efficient management and evaluation of these large scale vaccine baiting programs. With this in mind, a GIS-based rabies surveillance database and Internet mapping application was created. This surveillance system, RabID, provides a new resource for the rapid mapping and dissemination of data on animal rabies cases in relation to unaffected, enzootic, and baited areas where current interventions are underway. Results RabID is a centralized database for diagnostic and demographic information collected by local, state, and federal agencies involved in rabies surveillance. The geo-referenced database remits data to an Internet-accessible mapping application that displays rabies surveillance data in relation to environmental and geographic features. Conclusion RabID provides a pioneering example of the power of geographically based Internet-accessible, infectious disease surveillance. This surveillance system was developed from existing technology and is readily adaptable to other infectious diseases and may be particularly useful for zoonoses. The development and application of public health informatics technology may enhance the effectiveness of public health interventions and allow better evaluation of public health interventions.