Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Font Size: 
Citizen Science: an alternative for monitoring emergent diseases arising from biodiversity in Brazil
Marcia Chame, Rita Braune, Felipe Brasil, Lazaro Oliveira, Paulo Werdt, Jurandir Junior, Livia Abdalla, Eduardo Kremper, Marianna Cavalheiro, Maira Poltosi, Luciana Imbert

Building: Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping
Room: Rum 11
Date: 2014-10-27 11:15 AM – 11:30 AM
Last modified: 2014-10-28


Health impacts by biodiversity loss and monitoring of pathogenic agents on nature and on the borders between rural and urban environment are challenges for countries with continental dimensions and great diversity.

Health surveillance in Brazil is divided into human and livestock sectors and the zoonosis arising from wildlife are considered classical endemic diseases or emergencies.  In order to consolidate available knowledge and to create agile solutions for monitoring and preventing wildlife diseases, in 2014, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation developed the Wildlife Health Information Center – CISS, a virtual space whose the central focus is the Wildlife Health Information System – SISS-Geo.

SISS-Geo collects data of animals and their physical conditions. These data are processed through mathematical models considering hierarchical and environmental parameters, generating alerts and wildlife disease predictions. Because of the large size of Brazil, information gaps on hosts, vectors, and pathogenic agent knowledge, socioeconomic and ecosystem differences, and resource limitations, SISS-Geo uses citizen science as an alternative approach.

The growing use of information technologies and mobile communication reached more than 50% of the population in Brazil. This has opened up the possibility for people from the most remote locations to participate in SISS-Geo.

To make sure that the common citizen is able to use the system, the following features were implemented: (i) a simplified screen layout; (ii) a reduced amount of information and controlled fields; (iii) simplified taxonomic groups, symptoms and physical aspects  related to the potential for transmission of pathogens to humans; (iv) free space for personal considerations, (v) non-technical vocabulary giving preference to widely-familiar words and concepts; (vi)  spacial visualization of user data separated from other users; (vii) automatic georeferencing, even without connection with the Internet; and (ix) the ability to send photos and videos. The validation of the terminology used was performed in a workshop of the Participative Wildlife Health Network, a specialists group made up of institutions related to wildlife health.

The Participative Network currently has 1.246 followers on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/saude.silvestre), and the results are available publicly on http://www.biodiversidade.ciss.fiocruz.br.

To increase data modelling quality, the system uses also researchers' data. The public and collaborators will receive the results and associated information for diseases prevention and improve health and biodiversity conservation. A testing phase is in process and an important challenge is to mobilize citizens and specialists to use the system.