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 “Local maps are often 30 years out of date, so we’ve asked for high-resolution images of cities from Casablanca in Morocco to Vientiane in Laos, to help us better plan medical responses such as locating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 Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

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: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>