Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Predicting outbreaks of Rift Valley fever, via IRIN: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Agency (NASA) is devising remote sensing methods to monitor the environmental conditions that cause Rift Valley Fever. This episodic livestock disease, which occurs every five to ten years and can be transmitted to humans, was first identified by a British veterinary surgeon in Kenya more than 50 years ago. It has since been detected across the African continent and as far afield as the Indian Ocean islands of Comoros and Madagascar.

Remote sensing, a technique that uses recorded or real-time wireless sensing devices to collect information on an object or phenomenon, can be used to determine the environmental conditions that lead to outbreaks.

"The purpose of our research is to provide the first line of defence through international collaborations," Assaf Anyamba, an associate research scientist at NASA's Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, told IRIN during the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Earth Observation - Origins to Application, at the University of Cape Town.

"The satellite information we collect and analyze to produce end-user products is then disseminated to our partners; the Food and Agricultural Organization [FAO] takes care of livestock-related disease threats, while the World Heath Organization [WHO] deals with the information relating to human health," he said….

Distribution of Rift Valley fever, from the Centers for Disease Control

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