There is increasing evidence of the benefits of mHealth technology including symptom tracking Apps for research, surveillance and prevention, including for arboviruses and for pregnancy interventions, but no study has yet investigated the use of a symptom tracking App in pregnancy to detect arboviruses such as Zika, Dengue or Chikungunya. ZIKAction researchers developed a smartphone App for the detection of potential arbovirus infections and pregnancy complications in pregnant women and piloted this in Kingston, Jamaica.
The aim of the pilot study was to test the use of a smartphone App by pregnant women to report symptoms potentially signalling an arbovirus infection, as well as to report specific pregnancy complications. We wanted to understand if it was feasible for pregnant women to use the App to report the presence or absence of symptoms regularly and up to the end of their pregnancy, as well as to assess their experiences of using the App. The study started in February 2020 and the last woman entered the study in July 2020, with the last baby delivered in January 2021.
Who was involved?
This was a collaboration between University Medical Centre Utrecht, the University Hospital of the West Indies, Jamaica, University College London and Penta Child Health.
The App included a daily symptom diary for reporting presence or absence of symptoms. Participants could report their daily symptoms on the same day or up to 7 days later. They received daily email reminders to complete the diary. Certain combinations of symptoms triggered a “potential arbovirus episode”. The app also sent regular informative messages about pregnancy.
Pilot study results
A total of 173 pregnant women took part in the study. Results are currently being written up as a research paper which will be shared here once accepted. An infographic for sharing with study participants is also in production.