Penang takes lead in using AI predictions to beat dengue


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 21 Dec 2017

GEORGE TOWN: To curb the increase in dengue cases and deaths in the state, a US-based company uses artificial intelligence to predict a possible outbreak three months before it happens.

Aime Inc has been brought in to use its system to provide real-time predictions and data analytics on the geo-locations and timing of the next outbreak with up to 84% accuracy.

The predictive platform can warn of possible outbreaks three months in advance and pinpoint them to within a 400m radius.

Aime is an acronym for “artificial intelligence for medical epidemiology”.

The collaboration with the state government and state Health Department will allow authorities to tackle the outbreak before it spreads by using preventive action like fogging and eliminating aedes mosquito breeding sites.

Aime president Rainier Mallol said a trial run was carried out between May and July.

“We managed to predict outbreaks with an 81% accuracy.

“For this to work, we have to engage hospitals and collect data.

“We have been working with them and implemented our dengue surveillance system with data dating back to 2014.

“The first alert is predicted to come out next month,” he said after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Penang Government, represented by State Secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus.

The state government is funding the RM423,333 needed for Aime to provide the services for a year, which began Tuesday.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng Lim, who witnessed the signing, said the system was endorsed by World Health Organisation and Penang was the first state in Malaysia to test it.

He hoped the Health Ministry could observe the results from the Penang’s move and implement it nationwide.

“We welcome other state health departments to observe the system in action.

“This game-changing surveillance system which we call CAT (Crush Aedes Totally), incorporates big data analytics and epidemiological research.

“This platform is developed in the Silicon Valley in the United States and has obtained positive outcomes in Brazil and the Philippines.

“With the cumulative dengue cases in Penang of more than 2,500 cases and 13 recorded deaths this year, we need an alternative and modern strategy.

“Although the various state government agencies as well as the local councils have been working hard, the number of dengue cases in the state persists.

“We hope that CAT is capable of reducing the number of dengue cases and saves lives,” Lim said.

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