Example: Seasonal Disease Monitoring

Example: Seasonal Disease Monitoring

Noroviral Infections throughout the USA
Novel noroviral infections throughout the USA

For one of our first projects, where we used automated processes, we developed a program in Python to automatically process data from government agencies on infectious disease that show a seasonal pattern. This allows us to

  • collect the information from the internet
  • harmonise the information from various sources so that all information can be processes together
  • prepare the agreed tables (in the formats CSV, Excel, …) and graphics (.jpg, .png, .tif, .gif, … )
  • distribute the material to clients

To do all these tasks on a weekly basis to stay up to date is very work intensive. The workload can easily become a full-time equivalent if you want/need to do this for several diseases showing a seasonal pattern. But automating this work stream in a highly flexible computer program, which allows us to customise it to the need of various clients, enabled us

  • to reduce the repetitive work to a minimum, ensuring that the data is
    • accurate
    • in time
  • to focus on the evaluation of the new information gathered every time
  • to provide added value
    • by potentially observing effects earlier in other diseases
    • by detecting changes early and being able to react fast by informing our client(s) about changes in seasonal patters, opportunities for scientific communication or market development
  • to analyse the data more extensively (aggregation and comparison of data from different sources and about different diseases in tables or graphs)