Mobile phones track tropical diseases

Physicians and epidemiologists in Peru's navy are able to track the outbreak of all kinds of diseases via cell phone, potentially a life-saver for personnel exposed to malaria, yellow fever and other killer tropical diseases. The technology, developed by the U.S. Navy, works in real time, helping to head off potential epidemics.

"If you are a medical doctor or a nurse working in a health facility far away and you have a suspect case of Ebola, what you do is call into a toll free number, enter your personal identification number and then your password," Dr. Ernesto Gohzher told the BBC's World Service. The doctor then enters a code corresponding to a particular medical condition, as well as the patient's age, gender and time since symptoms appeared. "Once you send the case, the report goes to a database that can be seen online by a specialist," Gohzher said.

To learn more about this and other text-based mobile public health initiatives:
- check out this story
- or listen to the audio from the BBC World Service