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 “Local maps are often 30 years out of date, so we’ve asked for high-resolution images of cities from Casablanca in Morocco to Vientiane in Laos, to help us better plan medical responses such as locating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 Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>