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NASA technology helps predict and prevent future pandemic outbreaks
Date:11/6/2007

idered a bioterrorism agent, NASA surveillance systems enable scientists to decipher if an outbreak was caused by natural circumstances or was an act of bioterrorism.

A particular infectious disease being targeted by NASA is malaria, which affects 300-500 million persons worldwide, leaving 40 percent of the world at risk of infection. The Malaria Modeling and Surveillance Project utilizing NASA satellite technology is currently in use by the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Thailand and the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit located in Indonesia. Data collected at these locations is combined and used to monitor environmental characteristics that effect malaria transmission in Southeast Asia and other tropical and subtropical regions. Malaria surveillance provides public health organizations with increased warning time to respond to outbreaks and assistance in the preparation and utilization of pesticides, which leads to a reduction in drug resistant strains of malaria and damage to the environment.

NASA satellite remote sensing technology has been an important tool in the last few years to not only provide scientists with the data needed to respond to epidemic threats quickly, but to also help predict the future of infectious diseases in areas where diseases were never a main concern, says Mr. Haynes. Changing environments due to global warming have the ability to change environmental habitats so drastically that diseases such as malaria may become common in areas that have never been previously at-risk.


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Contact: Jennifer Bender
jbender@environics-usa.com
203-325-8772
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Source:Eurekalert

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