Epidemic intelligence from open sources (EIOS): Saving lives through early detection

Source(s): World Health Organization (WHO)

About EIOS

The Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS) initiative is a unique collaboration between various public health stakeholders around the globe. It brings together new and existing initiatives, networks and systems to create a unified all-hazards, One Health approach to early detection, verification and assessment of public health risks and threats using open source information. Creating a community of practice for public health intelligence (PHI) that includes Member States, international organisations, research institutes and other partners and collaborators is at the heart of the initiative; saving lives through early detection of threats and subsequent intervention its ultimate goal.

The EIOS community of practice is supported by an evolving EIOS system, which not only connects other systems and actors – including ProMedHealthMap and the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) – but also promotes and catalyses new and innovative collaborative development. The EIOS system builds on a long-standing collaboration between WHO and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission (EC) to develop a system for public health intelligence and responds to the need for a global initiative to bring together PHI efforts. The EIOS initiative benefits from the experience gained in the Early Alerting and Reporting (EAR) project of the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) and draws on experience from the Hazard Detection and Risk Assessment System (HDRAS) and MEDISYS / Europe Media Monitor, all of which were developed by JRC. It is aimed at consolidating a wide array of endeavours and platforms to build a strong PHI community supported by robust, harmonised and standardised PHI systems and frameworks across organisations and jurisdictions.

In September 2017, WHO accepted leadership of EIOS under the Health Emergencies Programme (WHE) with a governance structure involving multiple stakeholders. The Coordination Group is made up of twelve organizations, networks, and government bodies who serve two-year terms.

COVID-19 Emergency

EIOS picked up the first article reporting on a cluster of pneumonia in Wuhan at 03:14am (UTC) on December 31st 2019. By the end of March, the EIOS system was collating up to 228,000 articles per day related to the outbreak, helping to sort through this information and making it available it to experts across the globe. Since the start of the outbreak, members of the EIOS community have been working on additions to the system to help manage the unprecedented volume of articles by looking at improved ways to filter, contextualize and visualize all of the content coming in.

The COVID-19 News Map is only one application that has been developed with colleagues at the JRC to visualize some of the information coming through EIOS. It displays the headlines and snippets of the ten most recent articles that the system has identified as being related to COVID-19 in their original languages. It cycles through each news item before being refreshed and re-running the cycle. For more information about COVID-19 visit the WHO website and the COVID-19 Situation Dashboard.

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