• Description

Background: The 2005 International Health Regulations (IHRs) established parameters for event assessments and notifications that may constitute public health emergencies of international concern. These requirements and parameters opened up space for the use of nonofficial mechanisms (such as websites, blogs, and social networks) and technological improvements of communication that can streamline the detection, monitoring, and response to health problems, and thus reduce damage caused by these problems. Specifically, the revised IHR created space for participatory surveillance to function, in addition to the traditional surveillance mechanisms of detection, monitoring, and response. Participatory surveillance is based on crowdsourcing methods that collect information from society and then return the collective knowledge gained from that information back to society. The spread of digital social networks and wiki-style knowledge platforms has created a very favorable environment for this model of production and social control of information.Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the use of a participatory surveillance app, Healthy Cup, for the early detection of acute disease outbreaks during the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup 2014. Our focus was on three specific syndromes (respiratory, diarrheal, and rash) related to six diseases that were considered important in a mass gathering context (influenza, measles, rubella, cholera, acute diarrhea, and dengue fever).Methods: From May 12 to July 13, 2014, users from anywhere in the world were able to download the Healthy Cup app and record their health condition, reporting whether they were good, very good, ill, or very ill. For users that reported being ill or very ill, a screen with a list of 10 symptoms was displayed. Participatory surveillance allows for the real-time identification of aggregates of symptoms that indicate possible cases of infectious diseases.Results: From May 12 through July 13, 2014, there were 9434 downloads of the Healthy Cup app and 7155 (75.84%) registered users. Among the registered users, 4706 (4706/7155, 65.77%) were active users who posted a total of 47,879 times during the study period. The maximum number of users that signed up in one day occurred on May 30, 2014, the day that the app was officially launched by the Minister of Health during a press conference. During this event, the Minister of Health announced the special government program Health in the World Cup on national television media. On that date, 3633 logins were recorded, which accounted for more than half of all sign-ups across the entire duration of the study (50.78%, 3633/7155).Conclusions: Participatory surveillance through community engagement is an innovative way to conduct epidemiological surveillance. Compared to traditional epidemiological surveillance, advantages include lower costs of data acquisition, timeliness of information collected and shared, platform scalability, and capacity for integration between the population being served and public health services.

Saúde na Copa: The World’s First Application of Participatory Surveillance for a Mass Gathering at FIFA World Cup 2014, Brazil