India’s Kumbh Mela, an annual mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith, is unlikely to create a disease outbreak that spreads beyond the country’s borders, Dr. Kamran Khan, founder of BioDiaspora, tells Maclean’s Magazine‘s Hannah Hoag in “As millions gather for Kumbh Mela, doctors are watching” (February 11, 2013).
Here’s an excerpt (emphasis ours):
Unlike the hajj or the Olympics, the Kumbh Mela is primarily a domestic event. While flights into Saudi Arabia spike to five times normal during the hajj, “with the Kumbh Mela, it’s marginal,” says Khan, “probably five to 10 per cent at some airports.”
To help stem disease outbreaks that do cross borders, such as the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto, Khan developed Bio.Diaspora, an online tool that shows how international travellers can spread infectious diseases. Khan is also working with another group of scientists—along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—to develop a tool called BioMosaic that maps census data, migration patterns and health status to identify countries where international travel may give rise to emerging disease.
BioDiaspora emerged from Khan’s research at St. Michael’s Hospital and is being commercialized in partnership with MaRS Innovation.
Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, marketing and communications manager.