A more powerful mapping tool for fighting global animal disease
FAO has launched a new version of its EMPRES-i Global Animal Health Information public interface: an integrated tool for global animal disease surveillance, early warning and disease control.
EMPRES-i is a Web-based application of FAO’s Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (http://empres-i.fao.org). It was first publicly released in 2009 to support national veterinary services and related organizations by providing access to regional and global disease information to facilitate analysis, prevention and speed the response to animal disease outbreaks when they occur.
Information on animal disease events worldwide can be accessed in EMPRES-i under the Disease Event tab and narrowed by users according to disease, date, species and location. Animal disease events can then be represented over time by using graphs or by location on the EMPRES-i mapping system.
EMPRES-i is under continuous development. Registered users can now also log into the My EMPRES-i section to set up personal data and customize views of disease events according to disease, date and location. Preferences for country or region can be saved in the Directory and Laboratory sections, and maps and analysis can be saved for later reference. An online user’s manual provides a comprehensive introduction to using EMPRES-i and can be consulted when questions arise. Questions not covered by the manual can be sent directly to EMPRES-i at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An upgraded EMPRES-i Map section allows users to further define animal health maps by adding optional layers, such as livestock population, human demographic data and biophysical representations of the terrain. These layers are created and maintained as part of the FAO’s Global Livestock Production and Health Atlas (GLiPHA) and FAO’s Internet portal on spatial data and information (Geonetwork). Maps, graphs and data can be exported into different formats (csv, excel, pdf, jpeg).
The Library hosts FAO technical material related to animal health, such as books, bulletins, reports, newsletters, manuals and guidelines on epidemiology, diagnosis and control of Transboundary Animal Diseases. These too can be filtered by document type, topic, language, date or by using a new free text search function.
The Directory section provides contact information of Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) in every country. EMPRES-i users can search for contact details of CVOs according to different criteria (location, name or free text).
The Laboratory section provides contact information on FAO/OIE reference laboratories and regional laboratory networks. EMPRES-i users can search the information using different criteria (location, disease, laboratory name and free text).
Upgrades under development for EMPRES-i include the validation of an Influenza Genetic Module, where outbreak information will be linked to genetic sequences published in external genetic databases; the development of a standard surveillance module to encourage regular reporting and sharing of information gathered through FAO’s surveillance systems nationally and regionally; and finally, an EMPRES-i mobile application for mobile phones, available via download to enhance early disease detection and reporting from the field. These modules and new features will be available to EMPRES-i users in 2012.