Satellites can "track" mosquitoes by focusing on geographical regions of the species most favorable conditions. Conventional techniques in mosquito tracking have already produced maps showing these favorable regions. Side by side, recent satellite data matches the published mosquito habitats almost identically.
Habitats determined by satellite data are shown in red. Mosquito distribution maps determined by means other than satellite surveillance are outlined in yellow. The four species represented here have tested positive for West Nile Virus in each of the past four years. They are: Culex salinarius, Culex pipiens, Culex restuans, and Aedes vexans. Data source: International Research Partnership for Infectious Diseases (INTREPID).
NASA researchers are conducting Earth Science research that may one day allow public health officials to better track and predict the spread of West Nile Virus. NASA’s goal is to provide people on the front lines of public health with innovative technologies, data and a unique vantage point from space through satellites, all tailored into useful tools and databases for streamlining efforts to combat the disease.
NASA’s Public Health Applications Program focuses the results of research occurring at different NASA centers. The program is designed to eventually supply public health agencies with access to NASA’s cutting-edge capabilities in formats they can use to better understand how and where West Nile Virus spreads, focus resources and stave off the disease more efficiently.
"The goal of the program is to extend the benefits of NASA’s investments in Earth system science, technology and data toward public-health decision making and practice," said Robert Venezia, program manager at NASA Headquarters, Washington.
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