Tag Archives: Smartphone

Mapping for predicting tick distribution in Switzerland | Instant News

A comprehensive study by EPFL and the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) has enabled researchers to map the geographic distribution of ticks in Switzerland for the first time, as well as to determine whether they are carriers of chlamydia. Little is known about these bacteria, but fleas have the potential to transmit them to humans. The team found that the zone conducive to tick proliferation had grown by 10% over the past decade.

Pedestrians departing on one of the many walking trails in Switzerland often bring back beautiful photos, the occasional cramp, and – accidentally – fleas. These tiny akarids, which are in dense bush and on the edges of forests, are very active in hot weather and cling to human and animal hosts passing nearby. Despite their small size, they can transmit potentially serious diseases such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. Recent research by the Institute of Microbiology at CHUV has shown that fleas are often carriers of large amounts of chlamydia, a still poorly understood bacteria that can be transmitted to humans and cause secondary disease.

Scientists recognize that tick breeding and activity are influenced by a variety of environmental factors, including temperature and humidity. However, data on its regional distribution over time in Switzerland are lacking, which has been classified as a risk area. At EPFL’s Geographical Information Systems (LASIG) Laboratory, Estelle Rochat’s thesis project aims to address this void and identify areas where ticks carry chlamydia. His extensive mapping work has been published at prestigious events Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Three data sources

After identifying the environmental conditions conducive to the presence of castor bean infestation (Ixodes ricinus), the most common species of tick in Switzerland, Rochat created a map of their geographic distribution between 2008 and 2018.He drew on three databases: a 2009 field campaign carried out by the Swiss Army , where more than 60,000 ticks were collected and analyzed; thousands of entries to smartphone application which allows the user to indicate where they are observing ticks; and a Rochat-led flea collection project in 2018.

He then used machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) to predict the possible presence of ticks and bacteria based on values ​​taken from a set of environmental data (rainfall, temperature, humidity, etc.) around the collection point.


The machine learning program allowed Rochat to estimate the location of the ticks, and revealed that the surface area of ​​the zone favorable for tick propagation grew from 16% of mainland Switzerland in 2008 to 25% in 2018.

Statistically, the model works well. Using the rule of probability, we can find out whether a particular location is tick friendly, or if, conversely, ticks are unlikely. Using a distribution model, we estimated the prevalence of bacteria within these sites. This in turn allowed us to identify subzones where favorable areas for ticks also support chlamydia.

“A landmark project”

The scope, originality and novel approach of Rochat’s research won praise from Gilbert Greub, a world-renowned chlamydia and lice expert and director of the CHUV Institute of Microbiology. “This is an important project, and contains enough detail at the national level to allow us to draw conclusions. We can clearly see that between 2008 and 2018, there was an increase in the area of ​​high risk tick exposure, which in my opinion is a reflection of global warming. This indicates that the ticks have migrated 300-400 meters higher in the subalpine zone. “

For Greub, the study is a valuable tool for preventive purposes, as well as for awareness raising. In addition, it will be useful at the Institute, which conducts clinical studies of the impact of tick-borne chlamydia on humans.

The Rochat model is now available in open access and could be used in future research on tick-borne pathogens. “It’s interesting to see how the ecological niches overlap. We use chlamydia in this case because we are working with Gilbert Greub, a global expert, but our approach can also be applied to tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease. The algorithms needed to process environmental data are available free of charge and can be applied to other data sets, ”said Stéphane Joost, who supervised Rochat’s thesis at LASIG.

Joost sees an opportunity for the Swiss Federal Public Health Office to refine its risk map for head lice – which will be increasingly present in Switzerland as a result of global warming.

More fleas? Keep calm.

According to Gilbert Greub, Director of the CHUV Institute of Microbiology, the presence of more ticks in a particular zone increases the chances of being exposed to certain diseases. Over the past three years, patient consultations for tick bites, Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis has increased. Greub reiterated the recommendations of the Swiss Federal Public Health Office. “Summer is very beautiful here and people love cycling and walking. The most important thing is to get vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis. Second, avoid hiking in remote high-risk areas – or if so, wear trousers that tuck into your socks. In addition, you should check yourself closely at night when you return from the climb, including your back and other hidden areas. No need to panic or check every half hour. However, if you find a check mark, use the check mark brace to remove it. “


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Gigaset GS4: The new “Made in Germany” smartphone comes with wireless charging and a removable battery for € 229 | Instant News

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Nonprofit app aims to help unblock global air travel | World | Instant News

The CommonPass project, implemented in collaboration with the World Economic Forum based in Switzerland, aims to establish a standard way of verifying lab results and, subsequently, vaccination records, even if governments continue to set different health criteria.

Scientists warn there are concerns about the accuracy of some rapid tests. People can be contagious for several days before they develop symptoms, and these people can also test negative. The project’s chief medical officer, Dr. Brad Perkins, said that two tests during long-distance travel – one 72 hours before departure and one on arrival – will cover an incubation period. Testing technology may continue to evolve during a pandemic.

Passengers can use the app to find participating laboratories and testing sites, retrieve lab results, and complete health certifications. The application and associated data platform can confirm that the results match the requirements of the destination and generate a QR code that the authorities can use to confirm compliance.

The foundation says the system protects privacy because people don’t have to share their health information, only compliance or non-compliance. In addition, CommonPass can be used by countries without waiting for broader international agreements.

This system is meant to be adaptable whenever requirements change.

Meyer said that capability will be important after the arrival of vaccines, which may vary in terms of number of doses and duration of effectiveness.


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Great Britain launched a new smartphone app to track and track the coronavirus | Instant News

A new smartphone application to improve the UK’s trace and trace system to aid control The transmission will launch in England and Wales on Thursday.

The government says businesses will be required by law to display the official National Health Service (NHS) quick response code (QR) poster so people can check-in at different places with the new app.

App features include contact tracing using Bluetooth, risk alerts by postcode district, on-site QR check-in, symptom checker and test ordering. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is also trying to convince the public that user privacy and data security are at the core of app launching.

“We have worked extensively with technology companies, partners, as well as privacy and medical experts – and learn from trials – to develop applications that are safe, easy to use and will help keep our country safe, “said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“Today’s launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer and I urge all those who can download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones,” the minister said, repeating a previous warning that Britain was in. at a “tipping point” in its efforts to control the spread of this virus with increasing infection rates.

The new app will be available to those aged 16 and over in multiple languages, including Indian languages ​​such as Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali.

The app’s contact tracing element works by using low-energy Bluetooth to record the amount of time someone spent near other app users and the distance between them, so as to notify the user if someone close to them later tests positive. COVID-19 – even though they don’t know each other.

The app will then advise users to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case. This will also allow them to check for symptoms, order free tests if needed and get test results.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to engage with the UK’s NHS Test and Trace services,” said Dido Harding, Executive Chair of the UK’s NHS Testing and Tracing Program.

“The NHS COVID-19 app allows the majority of people with smartphones to know if they are at risk of contracting the virus and need to self-isolate, order tests if they have symptoms and access appropriate guidance and advice,” he said.

DHSC said the NHS Test and Trace team behind the app have worked closely with major technology companies, including Google and Apple, scientists at the Alan Turing Institute and Oxford University, Zuhlke Engineering, medical experts, privacy groups, communities and risk teams. in countries around the world using similar apps – such as Germany – to develop “safe, simple and secure” apps.

It stressed that the app does not store any personal information and that no personal data is shared with the government or the NHS.

In a joint statement, Apple and Google said: “We built an exposure notification system to enable public health authorities in their efforts to develop applications to help reduce the spread of the virus while ensuring that people can trust in privacy preservation designs.

“We are committed to supporting the government’s efforts to launch this technology-based application.”

The app has gone through “rigorous” British trials on the Isle of Wight, Newham area in London and among NHS volunteers, which it claims has been successful.

Simon Thompson, Managing Director of the NHS COVID-19 application, described it as more than just a contact tracing application, with various features to alert users of risks.

“The more people use it, the better it works. We are sure that everyone who downloads this application will help protect themselves and their loved ones,” he said.

DHSC also confirmed that the mobile phone industry has committed to supporting new applications with the country’s main operators – Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin – “no rating” data charges for all in-app activity. This means people will not be charged for data when using in-app functions or if they are redirected out of the app to information on the NHS website.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standards staff; other content was generated automatically from syndicated feeds.)


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The second wave of the virus “was already here” when German figures increased, officials said Nation | Instant News

BERLIN – Warning has been heard that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has already hit Germany when the daily infection rate rises, with the government’s infectious disease agency also saying it is deeply concerned.

“The second wave of coronavirus is already here. It’s happening every day. We have a new group of infections every day that could be a very high number,” Michael Kretschmer, prime minister of the eastern state of Saxony, told Rheinische on Saturday. Post newspaper.

Kretschmer’s comments came a day after the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) government noted a significant increase in new infections every day from around 500 to more than 800 at one point last week.

“This development is very worrying and will continue to be monitored very closely by RKI,” a spokesman told dpa on Friday night. “Further exacerbations of the situation must be avoided.”

Health authorities in Germany reported 781 new infections in the 24 hours to midnight (2200 GMT) on Friday, according to the agency. The previous day the number was 815.

This means that at least 204,964 people in Germany have been infected with the corona virus since the start of the outbreak, RKI reported on Saturday morning, while 9,118 people infected with the virus have died to date, an increase of seven compared to the previous day.

An estimated 189,800 people have recovered from infection on Saturday morning.

Germany has gradually lifted strict restrictions imposed in mid-March to slow the spread of the virus.

When public life was reopened, the government launched a coronavirus tracking application in mid-June that was designed to warn people about possible contact with the virus and trace the chain of infection.

Since then it has been downloaded 16.2 million times, although it began to come under fire this week after extensive operating problems arose.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that the problem not only affects Android smartphone users but also iPhone users.

The problem is with the continuous update function that is intended to run in the background to exchange anonymous code; However, the operating system often disables this when the application is not open to save battery.

“Now, on more and more smartphones, contact verification is said to be uneven. This worries more than 15 million users,” the German Foundation for Patient Protection said on Saturday, calling for an explanation from Health Minister Jens Spahn.

The disaster of the application coincides with some terrible data from RKI.

The final reproductive rate, which measures the ability of the disease to spread, is 1.24, up from 1.08 the previous day, which means that the average infected person infects more people.

This number, also known as the R-value, has a lag time of about one and a half weeks. RKI has repeatedly stressed that for the outbreak to subside gradually, this number must remain below 1.

RKI also measures the seven-day R value that is not too affected by daily fluctuations. The latest value is 1.25, up from 1.16 the previous day.

Although the number of new cases is increasing throughout the country, the RKI said on Friday that more than 60 percent was caused by increased infections in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia and in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Regarding the recent increase in the number of new corona virus infections in Germany, Minister of Health Spahn said that this “must be done primarily with travel activities, returning travelers from certain regions, some of them Western Balkans, Turkey.”

He said that even travel between various German federal states “carries the appropriate risk if we do not recognize it.”

“What we have now is a lot of smaller outbreaks,” Spahn said.

“(The question now is) whether this will turn into waves or whether we will be able to solve it together in time, that is, quickly identify and quickly disrupt the infection chain. This requires targeted and extensive testing.”

Visit Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) at www.dpa.de/English.82.0.html


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