Recently we’ve seen how researchers are using technology such as AI to detect Alzheimer’s early on, as early as 10 years, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise to learn that technology is also being used to detect disease outbreaks way before they can happen, like in the case of malaria where researchers use satellite data to predict potential outbreaks.

Researchers are using data from NASA’s satellite’s to predict malaria outbreaks. This is done by identifying areas where the moist soil, due to floods or deforestation, can become a prime breeding ground for the mosquitoes that can transmit malaria. This has resulted in a system that is effective enough to anticipate malaria outbreaks as early as 3 months in advance, and can be pinpointed right down to individual households.

According to Ben Zaitchik, the project’s co-investigator responsible for the LDAS component and an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, “It’s an exercise in indirect reasoning. These models let us predict where the soil moisture is going to be in a condition that will allow for breeding sites to form.”

Unfortunately it seems that the system isn’t quite ready for primetime just yet as the researchers still need to refine it further, and it seems that it might not be ready for a few years. However when it is ready, the way the tool is designed makes it adaptable for use with other kinds of diseases as well.

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