Crowdsourcing Dengue Fever Outbreaks with Pring

This year in 2011 Dengue (breakbone) fever hit the headlines in Pakistan. The disease spread rapidly in Lahore and its adjoining areas. The number of reported cases increased every day and created quite a stir because of lack of medical facilities and inadequate preventive measures. Heavy monsoon rains and high temperatures during the summer season are believed to be one of the major reasons of this outbreak. As the virus cannot be cured with vaccination it is extremely important to take preventive measures.

Utilizing our massive reach of more than three million users at Pring; we decided to run an awareness campaign. Anyone could text SEHAT to 9900 and learn about Symptoms, Prevention and Treatments for Dengue Fever. During the length of the campaign, thousands of people from all across Pakistan sent SMS and learned about Dengue.

We decided to push further, we asked Pringers to text-to-report Dengue cases by sending in the name and address of affected close friends or relatives; essentially crowdsourcing it by getting the lots of on ground people involved. More than 800 people volunteered and sent in various reports of the spread of Dengue in their locations.

(click to enlarge)

Within a short span of time we received an overwhelming response and a clearer picture began to emerge of the impact of Dengue. We set our Data Engineers to ‘mine’ this data and they came up with the above visualization. Out of all the reported cases 53.8 percent were reported from Lahore alone. 5.2 percent from Karachi, 4.2 percent from Kasur, 3.0 from Faisalabad and 1.4 percent were reported from Sargodha. With daily reports, we were able to detect  the rate at which this outbreak was spreading. An important aspect of this study was that all this data collection was instant and required no human intervention unlike data gathering.

We have just scratched the surface of what is possible with crowdsourcing and are very excited about putting this technology to use in other areas in Pakistan. We will continue to work with the best minds to come up with innovative ways to leverege the power of Pakistanis with Pring. If you have any suggessions or would like to work with us, please drop us an email at

Until next time, happy Pringing!


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  1. [...] through Pring have proven to be greatly successful in gathering accurate data. In 2011, when a dengue fever outbreak had gripped the nation, more than 3 million Pringers were asked to send in information of anyone [...]

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