The possibility of worldwide pandemics is likely to increase as travel and international trade grow. But they can be pre-empted through the use of databases that track key indicators on a global basis.
Until fairly recently, control of diseases like H1N1 and Aids had to be reactive rather than proactive but this is no longer adequate.
So does Big Data have the potential to predict pandemics?
There would be a need to collect data from many sources, including global general medical records. If a single case grew into a cluster of several this could indicate the beginnings of a widespread problem. Their location could be cross referenced with trade routes and water courses, the migration paths of certain birds, fish and animals, key locations and even the purchase of pharmaceuticals.
In fact, this sort of monitoring is already in use and successes have been claimed!
Obviously the data set is going to be very large and growing constantly, so the choice of database management system could be critical. Ideally the technology should be easy to use and familiar to many people. It should also be flexible, so that it can be adapted and upgraded over time; there should be no possibility of becoming locked in to one vendor’s product.
Database management systems like Raima’s RDM may offer the perfect solution for such applications. In terms of flexibility it can handle APIs (application program interfaces), ODBC (Open Database Connectivity), JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) etc. and with its source code made available to users, RDM has many of the advantages of an open source product..
RDM has been well proven on many projects and is popular with users across sectors including defense, business, healthcare, education, research, cartography, etc.