Digital Transformation in Environmental Health

Digital transformation

Infoplagas Magazine: Digital Transformation in Environmental Health

The Spanish magazine Infoplagas published a new issue in April, where Ángel Serrano (iGEO ERP Cloud Platform’s CEO) wrote an article on digital transformation in environmental health and the need for the sector’s companies to carry it out.

Ángel Serrano has a wide experience in the topic, given that, as the owner and manager of iGEO ERP, a software specialised in pest control and environmental health, he often performs great software implementation processes for businesses in the sector. Together with iGEO’s sales and implementation departments, a comprehensive digital transformation has been performed for more than 900 companies in 26 countries (Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, etc.).

His experience allows us to know the reasons why all companies need to undertake that digital transformation nowadays, even more so in the case of those that belong to the pest control and environmental health sector.

Digital transformation in environmental health

For the last two years, this sector has undergone a great change and boost process due to an increase in the need of services that originated from the appearance of COVID-19. Therefore, in order to address the great number of services to be performed, companies need to manage and organise digitally each of their business processes to the best of their ability. We all know that, sometimes, technology pushes us out of our comfort zone if we want to face the future by implementing the market’s innovations.

This change becomes essential for any business if they want to keep evolving and reaching new goals. Evolution is a part of them as much as their employees, that’s why environmental health businesses try to undertake this transformation as soon as possible, so as to not fall behind.

What is the main goal?

The main goal is to optimise the company’s resources and, thus, make the best decisions. The most expensive implementation, but nonetheless essential, is the introduction of a specialised, adapted software that makes the digitalisation of the company’s processes easier and that helps every employee in their daily work.

Using a specialised software, such as iGEO ERP Cloud Platform in the case of pest control and environmental health businesses, allows you to automatise daily processes and save a great amount of time in repetitive tasks. But that’s not all: these software products become the cornerstone of another series of digital processes and implementations, that, possibly, we don’t know yet, or that we haven’t been able to enjoy due to our lacking of digitalised operations.

How do I choose the most suitable software for my digital transformation?

This is a fundamental step, which is divided into these two key aspects that need to be considered:

The first one is to know the origin and the work of the company developing the software. Bear in mind that the only thing that will guarantee your success is using a programme focused and specialised in the pest control and environmental health sector only. If the company behind the software’s design works on other projects besides this one, or even develops other products, do not trust it.

For instance, iGEO ERP Cloud Platform is a software developed by a company that specifically works for this sector. Thus, all its staff is devoted exclusively to improving and developing new features.

The second great feature that you must seek is that all employees working on the software have prior experience and a direct link to the sector. Therefore, you will make sure that your business is covered at all times by their wide expertise.

Which new technologies does it deliver?

The digital transformation of businesses in the sector is also leading to the introduction of other technologies, such as the installation of smart traps and sensors in customers’ premises. These contribute to optimising work times and the planning of technicians’ visits, given that you will receive information on their activity in real time.

As we have mentioned before, IoT has also found its spot: when linked to smart traps, it collects much more information than a technician in a single visit. This will allow you to perform a more up-to-date follow-up of the premises’ activity through the immediate submission of these devices’ data.

Does the digital transformation entail any risks?

As it happens with all changes, fear may take over some employees. This feeling is very personal, but, also, it is true that an innovative spirit is always inherent to a company’s idiosyncrasy.

Perhaps the concept of transformation is linked to great changes and to an enormous effort by all parties involved; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Digital transformation is performed quickly if the necessary resources and time are devoted to it. In that case, the process will be successful, and the expected results will be obtained.

In iGEO ERP, we perform comprehensive processes, where not only the software is implemented, but also all employees are trained. Thus, this change will be far easier than you believe, and your business will emerge stronger at the end of the journey.

Mapping dengue hotspots may contribute to identifying the risk of Zika and chikungunya

Zika and chikungunya

Identifying dengue-fever hotspots may provide a predictive map of future outbreaks of other diseases transmitted by the yellow fever mosquitoes, according to new data collected in nine Mexican cities.

These confirm that dengue fever hotspots may contribute to predicting future Zika and chikungunya outbreaks. These viral diseases are propagated by the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.

Lancet Planetary Health published the paper, directed by Gonzalo Vázquez-Prokopec, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Emory University (United States). In this research, he provides a risk-stratification method to guide the control of those diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti in a more effective way

‘Our results can help public health officials to do targeted, proactive interventions for emerging Aedes-borne diseases. We’re providing them with statistical frameworks in the form of maps to guide their actions.’

Dr. Gonzalo Vázquez-Prokopec

This study comprises data collected from 2008 to 2020 in cities in Southern Mexico with a high rate of dengue infections during that period, along with cases of recent diseases, such as Zika and chikungunya. These cities are Acapulco, Mérida, Veracruz, Cancún, Tapachula, Villahermosa, Campeche, Iguala, and Coatzacoalcos. 

Results yielded an overlap of 62 % of hotspots for dengue and Zika, and of 53 % in dengue and chikungunya cases. These dengue hotspots contained 75 % of the first chikungunya cases reported during this disease’s outbreak in 2015, and 100 % of the first Zika infections during the 2016’s outbreak. 

‘In this latest paper, we’ve expanded our analysis in scope and geography and shown that the findings are consistent across these nine cities of different sizes and in different regions. We’ve confirmed that dengue, Zika and chikungunya outbreaks tend to concentrate in small areas of a city, and that these hot spots are predictive of where future cases will concentrate.’

Dr. Gonzalo Vázquez-Prokopec

Mosquito-control measures tend to focus on outdoor spraying covering wide city areas, but Aedes aegypti has adapted to living indoors. Dr. Vázquez-Prokopec’s work has proven that the best way to control it and the diseases transmitted by them is to spray long-lasting pesticide indoors: on ceilings, wall bases, and other areas where mosquitoes tend to cluster.

This approach, called ‘targeted indoor residual spraying’, is too expensive and requires a long time to be applied in a city. However, this paper’s statistical framework allows public health officials to concentrate their efforts in the hotspots of previous diseases transmitted by Aedes in order to better control outbreaks and, even, prevent them

‘The ultimate goal is to give public health officials the power to harness big data and do more effective and efficient mosquito control — even before an epidemic begins’, Dr. Vázquez-Prokopec stated.

Vázquez-Prokopec is currently leading a consortium in a randomised clinical trial performed in Mérida to test targeted indoor residual spraying against those diseases transmitted by Aedes. The test was launched in 2020, will last five years and is funded by $6.5 millons grant from the US National Health Institutes.

 

Dengue fever, Zika, and chikungunya

Dengue fever is also called ‘bone-break disease’, given one of its symptoms is an intense pain. More than one third of the world’s population lives in areas with a high risk of dengue infection, which is one of the main causes of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. This virus is endemic in most of Mexico, where there are 75 000 and 355 000 cases per year, which entail an annual cost of $150-257 million. 

Chikungunya is hardly ever lethal, but its symptoms may be serious and weakening. On the other hand, Zika’s are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, including fever and joint pain. Even though it tends to be less weakening, or even asymptomatic, the infection of pregnant women may affect severely the foetus and cause, for instance, brain malformations.

To remain up to date about the sector’s news, please check our blog.

This post is based on the article ‘Mapping dengue fever hot spots can predict future outbreaks of Zika and chikungunya’, by Emily Henderson (News Medical).

Drones: the solution to reach isolated locations

drones pest control

Drones are becoming useful, essential tools in multiple aspects of our daily lives. Currently, they are being successfully tested and greatly accepted in pest control.

Using drones in certain circumstances is more effective than human action, especially when they may not access some locations. This is the case of the Galápagos Islands, where some tests are being perform in order to employ this tool in the most efficient way when launching foggers to end a rat infestation harming the ecosystem.

The manageability of these air vehicles is key to access any location. Therefore, thanks to a drone fleet, you may reach a greater area to disinfect, disinsect, derat, or perform any other kind of service.

These may even carry 42-pound pellets and detonate biocides with great accuracy. This is due to the fact that they are flown using a control system operated by specialised technicians in a safe place.

Furthermore, after performing these services, these locations may be monitored in order to verify that the pest has been actually eliminated or that, at least, the expected results are being achieved.

New technologies are bursting into the sector, and we need to rely on them to be able to evolve, to become more efficient when performing services, and to offer everyone first-rate environmental health solutions. To remain up to date about the sector’s news, please check our blog.