Since Zika landed on US shores earlier this year, public health officials have used mosquito control programs to try to contain its spread. Using a new Zika app from Texas A&M, anyone can now support those efforts as well.
TAMU Zika is a new app that lets users report areas where Zika-carrying mosquitos could establish breeding grounds. In particular, users can report locations that have standing water whether in containers like tires or buckets or built up due to clogged drains or gutters. This information is tagged with the users location and loaded to a website where local health officials can review reports as they plan containment efforts.
The TAMU Zika app also has some information Zika but its pretty thin. There are certainly more comprehensive Zika apps out there, like the World Health Organization Zika app for clinicians. It was a bit disappointing that there wasn’t more information on what individuals can do to prevent infection and spread, including what to do about standing water.
It will be interesting to see what the uptake and engagement is on the TAMU Zika app. It could help empower people in affected communities to play a more active role combatting its spread. On the other hand, it could turn into a lot of noise that falls to the wayside in planning efforts underway by already overwhelmed public health officials. Hopefully, we’ll get some follow up on the impact of TAMU Zika since this experience could really help inform similar efforts in the future.