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Public Health Infographic: Disease Forecasting in Public Health | SSG

Posted on August 16th, 2023   |   SSG

Disease Forecasting in Public Health Infographic

Disease Forecasting in Public Health

Disease forecasting is vital when it comes to keeping the public safe from the spread of infectious disease and illness.

What is Disease Forecasting?

Disease forecasting is the process of using public health data to predict how a disease will affect the local population.  This prediction allows time for vital resources to be provided to affected areas. 

How Does Disease Forecasting Help with Surveillance?

Disease forecasting enhances disease surveillance by helping public health officials better prepare for the spread of disease, so they can take steps to protect the local population from infection before they test positive. This ultimately reduces the number of people who are affected, while preserving health resources for those who urgently need medical care. 

What Data Sources are Used for Disease Forecasting?

A disease forecast includes the collection and analysis of various types of public health data, including:

  • Lab reports and test results
  • The density of the population
  • Immunization information
  • The average length of infection
  • Health outcomes of infected individuals
  • The prevalence of existing health conditions that can make people more susceptible to infection
  • Public events with tight crowds that could increase the spread of the disease
  • Contextual information about how residents feel about the disease, such as social media posts

How Accurate are Disease Forecasts?

The accuracy will vary based on the information the department collects on the local population and the timeframe of the predicted outcome. 

How to Improve Disease Forecasting?

Using detailed, high-quality data that is compatible with the department’s disease surveillance software is the best way to increase the accuracy of disease forecasts. 

Every piece of data should be stored in the database for analysis without duplication or missing fields to make sure it accurately represents the local population. 

Public health departments can use disease forecasting to look into the future and predict events that have yet to occur. It is often the best way to protect individuals from infection when facing the unknown.