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Advancements in web-database applications for rabies surveillance

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Author(s): Rees Erin | Gendron Bruno | Lelièvre Frédérick | Coté Nathalie | Bélanger Denise

Journal: International Journal of Health Geographics
ISSN 1476-072X

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 48;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Protection of public health from rabies is informed by the analysis of surveillance data from human and animal populations. In Canada, public health, agricultural and wildlife agencies at the provincial and federal level are responsible for rabies disease control, and this has led to multiple agency-specific data repositories. Aggregation of agency-specific data into one database application would enable more comprehensive data analyses and effective communication among participating agencies. In Québec, RageDB was developed to house surveillance data for the raccoon rabies variant, representing the next generation in web-based database applications that provide a key resource for the protection of public health. Results RageDB incorporates data from, and grants access to, all agencies responsible for the surveillance of raccoon rabies in Québec. Technological advancements of RageDB to rabies surveillance databases include 1) automatic integration of multi-agency data and diagnostic results on a daily basis; 2) a web-based data editing interface that enables authorized users to add, edit and extract data; and 3) an interactive dashboard to help visualize data simply and efficiently, in table, chart, and cartographic formats. Furthermore, RageDB stores data from citizens who voluntarily report sightings of rabies suspect animals. We also discuss how sightings data can indicate public perception to the risk of racoon rabies and thus aid in directing the allocation of disease control resources for protecting public health. Conclusions RageDB provides an example in the evolution of spatio-temporal database applications for the storage, analysis and communication of disease surveillance data. The database was fast and inexpensive to develop by using open-source technologies, simple and efficient design strategies, and shared web hosting. The database increases communication among agencies collaborating to protect human health from raccoon rabies. Furthermore, health agencies have real-time access to a wide assortment of data documenting new developments in the raccoon rabies epidemic and this enables a more timely and appropriate response.
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