Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers develop the first climate-based model to predict Dengue fever outbreaks

09.06.2009
Scientists use climate variables and vegetation indices to predict and mitigate Dengue epidemics in the American tropics

Dengue Fever (DF) and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) are the most important vector-borne viral diseases in the World. Around 50-100 million cases appear each year putting 2.5 billion people at risk of suffering this debilitating and sometimes fatal disease. Dengue Fever is prevalent in the Tropics.

For that reason, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Miami (UM) and the University of Costa Rica have used global climatological data and vegetation indices from Costa Rica, to predict Dengue outbreaks in the region.

The new model can predict Dengue Fever epidemics with 83% accuracy, up to 40 weeks in advance of an outbreak and provide information on the magnitude of future epidemics. The model can be expanded to include the broader region of Latin America and the Caribbean, where incidence and spread of the disease has increased dramatically over the past 25 years.

An early warning system to prevent and mitigate the spread of the disease can potentially be developed using this model, explained Douglas O. Fuller, associate professor and chair of the department of Geography and Regional Studies in the UM College of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator of this project.

"Such a tool will provide sufficient time for public health authorities to mobilize resources to step up vector control measures, alert at-risk populations to impending conditions and help health professionals plan for increased case loads," Fuller said.

Vector-born diseases, such DF and DHF, are ones in which the disease is transmitted from an infected individual to another by a biological agent. In the case of Dengue, one of four closely related Dengue viruses is transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti or more rarely the Aedes albopictus mosquito, sometimes with other animals serving as intermediary hosts. Most of the world's population infected by Dengue (also known as "breakbone fever") is located in tropical and subtropical areas of the globe, where the weather is dominated by rainfall.

This project looks at climate and vegetation variables that have an impact on the mosquito populations in the American Tropics, such as El Niño Southern Oscillations, sea-surface temperatures and seasonal vegetation dynamics that affect evaporation and humidity near the ground.

"We were surprised that sea-surface temperature variations in the Pacific related to El Niño can be linked to a debilitating disease," Fuller said. "Now we see more clearly that global climate oscillations such as El Niño are important drivers of disease as well"

The study contributes to the rapidly emerging field of climate and infectious disease, which addresses increasing concerns that global warming, will exacerbate certain diseases like Dengue Fever and allow the vectors to spread to more temperate areas. The findings of this study were published earlier this year in the Institute of Physics journal Environmental Research Letters.

The model predicted a major Dengue epidemic of 2005 and has also been tested on data from Trinidad and Singapore with extremely accurate results, Fuller said. Other factors that may contribute to the increased occurrence of Dengue

Fever in the Tropics are: global trade, population growth and uncontrolled or unplanned urbanization.

The University of Miami's mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world.www.miami.edu

Marie Guma-Diaz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.miami.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern 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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>