Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High resolution satellite imagery assists hunt for infectious ’kissing bugs’

28.09.2004


A blood-sucking ’kissing bug’


In the midst of crammed slums in the Nicaraguan district of Matagalpa, aid workers are hunting house-to-house for hidden killers, their search guided by high-resolution satellite imagery supplied through an ESA-backed project.

Their targets are blood-sucking reduviid insects, generally known as ’kissing bugs’ because they emerge from their hiding places each night to bite human skin where it is thinnest – around the mouth and eyes. Growing up to five centimetres long, the kissing bugs are harmless by themselves, but carry a microscopic protozoan parasite that causes the wasting and eventually lethal Chagas disease. Secondary sources of infection can include ingesting contaminated food, mother to child transmission like during breast feeding and tainted blood transfusions.

Infection by this Trypanosoma cruzi parasite may cause short-term symptoms including fever, tiredness and brain swelling. However it is the longer-term symptoms that are most serious: ten to 15 years after initial infection the heart enlarges and grows weaker; internal organs are also affected. Sufferers must endure chronic tiredness and a higher chance of an early death – often from heart failure.



Chagas disease affects at least 16 million people across Central and South America, of which World Health Organisation figures show 21 000 die every year. There is no vaccine, and response to treatment decreases with age. When first discovered in 1909, Chagas was a predominantly rural affliction, but urbanisation has brought it into towns and cities.

The majority of the half a million inhabitants of Matagalpa are poor - made poorer still by the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 – and Chagas is a disease of poverty. The parasite-carrying insects thrive in poor housing conditions, such as trodden earth floors, adobe walls and thatched roofs. Hundreds of kissing bugs can hide in cracks and cavities by day, then emerge to climb walls, jump and glide to land on exposed flesh.

Infected children respond best to treatment, but for medical interventions to be effective, the bugs have to be eradicated to avoid rapid patient re-infection. As part of a wider anti-Chagas campaign in the area, Médecins Sans Frontières workers oversee a methodical house-to-house inspection campaign, identifying where cracks need to be filled in and control methods such as spraying are required.

This campaign is being guided by ultra high-resolution satellite imagery showing individual houses and even cars, supplied by an ESA-backed project called HUMAN, set up to provide geo-spatial mapping products and services for humanitarian aid organisations. "MSF is evaluating new methods to control Chagas disease, and the acquisition of a high resolution image of Matagalpa is part of this research activity," said Rémi CARRIER, MSF logistics director. "Up until now, MSF staff have been working with hand-drawn maps”. "The use of space-based mapping technologies allows us to carry out a more efficient situation analysis of the Chagas disease on a house by house basis. It will also help us to implement effective control and monitoring programmes on the ground."

In the Esquipulas municipality before April 2004, out of 8772 children under 15, MSF screened 5359, finding and treating 50 Chagas positives. And out of an estimated 782 pregnant women, MSF screened 141, finding and treating two positives. A prevalence survey was finalised in July 2004 in Matagalpa, Dario and San Ramon municipalities. Once available, the results will condition a project extension to those areas. As well as house inspection, MSF is also looking at screening blood transfusions and lobbying for new medical treatment possibilities with increased effectiveness and fewer side effects.

Following the completion of this Matagalpa pilot project, the same techniques - including use of satellite imagery – may be employed for Chagas control elsewhere in Nicaragua and Central and South America.

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaEO/SEMTE9ADFZD_index_0.html
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

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: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>