Dan Howe, Faye Grundy, Annabella (5) and Dottie (4)
The Dot2Dot product is a joint venture by Martin Green, owner of Blueberry, and Faye Grundy and Dan Howe, parents of Dottie (see below for their story), with co-founder and adviser, Dr. Martin Dedicoat. We’re working together to develop an economical and efficient digital contact tracing application which can be used worldwide to fight infectious disease.
In 2017 our lives were transformed forever. We experienced first-hand, how current contact tracing works, its inherent deficiencies and limitations and ultimately how devastating it is when the avoidable transmission of an infectious disease is not avoided through inadequate contact tracing and the disease spreads.
In March 2017, I took my 11-month-old daughter, Dottie, to her village GP. At that time, she was recovering from her meningitis vaccination and had an ear infection.
At the same time, there was another patient waiting to be seen by the GP who was confirmed – post appointment – to have highly infectious TB. Contact tracing was undertaken for his friends and family.
However Public Health England’s practices failed to identify Dottie as a contact despite her being vulnerable to age, vaccination status and the environment in which the contact occurred. Dottie did not therefore receive preventative treatment, nor did she receive an advice letter warning of her contact with TB. Tragically Dottie went on to develop TB meningitis, pulmonary TB and ocular TB. She was critical on a ventilator in Intensive Care when she was diagnosed, having also developed hydrocephalus which required emergency neurosurgery and multiple subsequent neurosurgeries. She has miraculously survived but has lifelong injuries. As a family the impact is immeasurable.
Public Health England’s contact tracing practices cannot prioritise vulnerable and the most at risk contacts, regardless as to whether the vulnerability is due to age and/or existing health conditions.
The contact tracing was ineffective because it did not take into account:
- Primary care settings
- Settings with inherently
- Vulnerable contacts
- Demographics of the local area and the inferred vaccination status of those contacts
- Infectiousness of the index case
- Environmental conditions of the setting.
- The latest science in relation to transmission
Dot2Dot would ensure that smart contact tracing is undertaken so that these failings are not repeated. Additionally, we incorporate technology that allows non-invasive contact tracing to be undertaken where an index case does not provide the level of transparency required for adequate contact tracing to be undertaken.
Dr. Martin Dedicoat is Vestigo’s clinical adviser. Dr. Dedicoat is a Consultant in Infectious Diseases at the Heart of England NHS Trust. He is also the TB clinical lead for Birmingham and Solihull and Chair of TB Alert.