Nevada Public Health Website Launched

Dec 8, 2016

Credit Nevada State Infectious Disease Forecast Station

Disease forecasters rely on statistics to understand health trends or detect disease outbreaks in a community. As Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports some of this information can also help the general public.

Dr. James Wilson heads up the Nevada Center for Infectious Disease Forecasting at the University of Nevada, Reno. His center recently launched a website to make health data more publicly accessible.

“Right now, we’re just posting forecasts for typical diseases that we talk about here in the community, like sexually transmitted disease: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV even,” Wilson explains. “We also have forecasts for influenza and food-borne illness.”

Wilson compares disease forecasting to planning for the weather. He says knowing health data could compel the public to better prepare.

“That’s giving you an idea of where we’re going with the future here is 21st century public health,” Wilson says. “We’re moving from a reactive posture to more empowering the public to be proactive.”

Wilson uses influenza as an example. Confirmed cases have been high in Washoe County early-on this flu-season, with flu-related deaths in Northern Nevada. He says, by having the data, more people might go get vaccinated.

To get to the forecasting disease website, go to www.nvidforecast.com.