Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Satellites will join search for source of Ebola virus

17.07.2003


Microscopes are not the only tools available to study disease. A new ESA project employs satellites to predict and help combat epidemic outbreaks, as well as join the hunt for the origin of the deadly Ebola virus.



Ebola haemorrhagic fever kills many people in Central Africa each year. It can cause runaway internal and external bleeding in humans and also apes. What remains unidentified is the jungle-based organism serving as the virus’s host.
To assist search efforts, from next year detailed vegetation maps of Congo and Gabon will be created with satellite images as part of a new ESA Data User Element project called Epidemio, developing Earth Observation (EO) services for epidemiologists.

The Gabon-based International Centre for Medical Research (CIRMF) will combine EO data with field results within a geographical information system (GIS). They hope to spot particular environmental characteristics associated with infected sites where either dead animals are found or local people have acquired Ebola antibodies.



“By comparison with known infected sites, remote sensing will help determine other suspect sites,” said Ghislain Moussavou of CIRMF. “It is not possible to test the blood of animals throughout the global target area – about 400 sq km of jungle - but it will be helpful to concentrate the efforts of teams collecting animals at these sites.” The animals’ blood can then be tested for signs of Ebola.

The satellite data will be updated monthly to gain more clues, Moussavou added: “In Gabon and Congo, we have observed an annual periodicity of Ebola outbreaks. This suggests particular ecological conditions characterise the reservoir host habitat.”

EO images will also be provided to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Public Health Mapping Programme, for import into WHO’s HealthMapper GIS software used by public health officials in more than 70 countries.

“Ultimately our system depends on ground-gathered data, but remote sensing could be a useful addition,” said Jean-Pierre Meert of WHO. “Local maps are often 30 years out of date, so we’ve asked for high-resolution images of cities from Casablanca in Morocco to Vientiane in Laos, to help us better plan medical responses such as locating urban clinics. We also hope to keep better track of nomadic peoples, so we’re better placed to provide them with medical help.”

Combating malaria – which affects 300 million people worldwide and kills up to 1.5 million people annually – is a particular focus of several different Epidemio users. Acquiring satellite-gathered meteorological data is of great interest. High humidity and rainfall levels often presage malaria outbreaks due to increased mosquito numbers.

“Reliable continent-wide information on surface temperature is a particular boon,” said Simon Hay of the University of Oxford Zoology Department. “These temperature data would help in discriminating those rainfall events that occur in a window most favourable for the generation of malaria.”

Olivier Arino | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaSA/SEMF1MXO4HD_earth_0.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>