The cryptic breeding sites sought out by A. aegypti pose growing
challenges for municipal surveillance programs. Highly adapted to human
environments, they breed in and around homes and utilize small, hidden
sources of water. The scale of surveillance needed to control A.
aegypti is now beyond that of any municipality. Our innovation educates,
builds awareness, fosters vigilance, and promotes elimination of mosquito breeding sites in homes and schools.
Kids to the rescue! Armed with a fun app and an understanding that they
can make a real, continuing contribution to improving health outcomes
for their families and in their own communities, kids are challenged to
seek out the cryptic habitats of the mosquito vector responsible for
transmitting Zika, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and other
arboviruses. They use the app to locate, report, and eliminate breeding
habitats of mosquito disease vectors.
Primary beneficiaries are the families and communities where kids,
teachers and parents are using the app. Additional beneficiaries are
public health departments, who can access open data via the cloud, and
scientists who can use the fine grained data to improve models that are
used to predict and prevent epidemic disease. Though partnership with
UNEP Environment Live, we are part of a citizen science effort to
constrain mosquito borne disease worldwide.
Mission and Vision
Our goal is to reduce and eliminate cases of mosquito vector borne
disease in neighborhoods and communities wherever the app is adopted.
Through interaction with a digital device, we also aim to reduce the
digital divide and improve technological education of kid participants.
The app promotes mosquito vector education, local surveillance, habitat
decommissioning and destruction- the three tools we have to control
vector borne diseases for which there is no vaccine.
This initiative connects health education, environmental awareness, scientific discovery and community-based action in a citizen science effort with direct benefits to NASA science and public health decision-making. Using the GLOBE Observer app, citizen scientists collect and share mosquito data and then use the data to develop a local mitigation strategy that reduces the risk of disease in their communities.
The mobile app is free for download at app stores. We disseminate
knowledge of the app through schools and youth serving organizations.
Any youth with access to a mobile device can use the app to locate and
report mosquito breeding sites, determine if the mosquito is a vector
species, and report when they decommission or remove a breeding site
from use by mosquitoes. The data can be collected by users when off
line. The data is held in the app until wifi is available, then data is
uploaded to the cloud. The current version of the app is optimized for
adult citizen scientists. On the basis of our pilot, we recognize the tremendous potential of optimizing the
app for use by youth, with external incentives through gamification,
leader boards, and occasional challenges. In recognition of the critical
role youth play in family economics, we seek to
partner with cell service providers so that youth can earn minutes for their families when doing vector control actions.
A mobile app provides a crowdsourced solution to fulfill the need for
increased mosquito surveillance and for raising awareness of vector
mosquito habitats and disease. Adults are very
busy, but what if we created a culture change, and kids saw vector
surveillance and breeding site elimination as a youth opportunity and
were motivated to participate because they have access to a mobile
device and a gamified app? There are many local initiatives that promote
home vector breeding site elimination in South America, but many
citizens consider this a job of their municipality. Our model builds on
the genuine desire youth have to contribute to their communities, as well
as the fascination and novelty mobile apps have for today's youth. Kids
can provide the worldwide vector surveillance army we need to reduce and
eliminate mosquito vector borne disease from communities.
Planned Goals and Milestones
We developed a mobile app for supporting citizens in reporting vector
mosquito breeding sites, optimized for adults use. We seek funding to
gamify our app and create a kid optimized fun and friendly interface,
with badges, competitions, leaderboards and incentives to find, report
and decommission breeding sites, prototyped on a companion website. Our goal: educate and empower
kids to improve health outcomes in their communities.