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Satellite, tech can help predict disease outbreaks

Satellite, tech can help predict disease outbreaks

Apr 14, 2014

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report suggests satellite and other new technologies could be used to help predict disease outbreaks, allowing governments time to set up initiatives to counteract them. The report focuses on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and says that in Botswana, for example, rainfall data forecasts malaria incidence up to four months ahead as malaria outbreaks are associated with inter-annual and seasonal variations.

Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, one of the IPCC report’s lead authors of the chapter on human health, says that the obvious direct health risks associated with climate variability, such as the higher incidence of dengue, malaria, cholera and diarrhoea are well-established and thinking “outside the box” could see governments able to mitigate the impact of climate variability on communities.

The report highlights the example food safety standards amid rising temperatures and heavy rainfall, which would require better interaction between human health and veterinary authorities; as well as the monitoring of food-borne diseases and resources to detect infectious agents and contaminants in food.

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