Washington, Nov 27: Remote sensing technology has helped the NASA scientists to predict and track the outbreak of infectious diseases around the world by observing the Earth's environment.
With the help of 14 satellites currently in orbit and the NASA Applied Sciences Program, scientists have been able to use the remote sensing technology in predicting the outbreak of some of the most common and deadly infectious diseases today such as Malaria, West Nile virus and Rift Valley Fever, the Science Daily reported.
The ability of infectious diseases to thrive depends on changes in the Earth's environment such as the climate, precipitation and vegetation of an area.
''The use of this technology is not only essential for the future of curbing the spread of infectious diseases,'' explains John Haynes, public health program manager for the NASA Earth Science Applied Sciences Program.
''NASA satellites are also a cost-effective method for operational agencies since they are already in orbit and in use by scientists to collect data about the Earth's atmosphere, '' says Mr Haynes.
A particular infectious disease being targeted by NASA is Malaria, which affects 300-500 million people worldwide, leaving 40 per cent of the world at risk of infection.
''Changing environment due to global warming have the ability to change environmental habitats so drastically that diseases such as malaria may become common in areas that have never been previously at risk,'' he adds.
By this remote sensing technology , data is collected daily to monitor environmental changes through orbiting satellites. That information is then passed on to agencies such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense who then apply the data to predict and track disease outbreaks and assist in making public health policies.
''NASA satellite remote sensing technology has been an important tool in the last few years to not only provide scientists with the data needed to respond to epidemic threats quickly, but to also help predict the future of infectious diseases in areas where diseases were never a main concern,'' says Mr Haynes.