Saturday 13 June 2015

Translating from the Korean for MERS epidemiology...

I absolutely love the graphic the Korean Broadcasting Service (KBS) have been putting up. Love 'em. Great job!  I just wish they were in English too. I understand that the first priority is to your own population - totally get that. But I do wish that, like the Saudi Ministry of Health, every country could do an English version as well as the native language. 

But processes, time money and stuff...

Anyway - to help me try and get more detail on the South Korean clusters I have added some translation to one of the KBS pages which, when you click on the icon of a person, gives you a popup box with some detail. I've added translation to the contents of that box (see the figure below). 

I don't know how accurate the "Date of infection" field is but will be comparing it to the World Health Organization (WHO) data from earlier to see if it can be useful. This is all because the date of reporting is almost always different from the date of illness onset - and the latter are much better to plot to get an idea of whether an outbreak is rising, peaking or slowing. Having the ability to crowd-plot these numbers is great and (I think) useful to inform the public and our clinical and scientific peers when included alongside some discussion about trends and reason for changes, risk etc. Often (always?) more personable banter, and engagement, seems to be lacking from 'bigPublicHealth' sources.

Click on image to enlarge.
Adapted from[1]

This sort of data mining seems essential if the recent WHO publication of a minimalist 33-word summary of the last 62 cases is now the norm - or perhaps the provision of information from the South Korean health authority to the WHO has changed in format. And that has become acceptable to the WHO, who have not commented on the change. Such summaries, and lack of comment, are also business-as-usual for 'updating' us on human cases of influenza A(H7N9) virus in China.


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