Fighting Malaria Using Environmental, Disease Data

Article ID: 616738

Released: 21-Apr-2014 11:00 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: South Dakota State University

Expert Pitch
  • Sampling mosquito larvae in a seasonally flooded pasture in the Amhara region of Ethiopia will give senior scientist Michael Wimberly, of the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence, left, and research scientist Gabriel Senay, of the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, some of the data they need to help predict outbreaks of malaria.

A major step in combating malaria in Africa is having health care professionals, medicine and preventive measures available when needed. Despite improvements in the health care system, transportation and poverty make combating the seasonal disease challenging, according to Michael Wimberly, senior scientist at the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University. The center is a collaboration between South Dakota State University and the U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Resources Observation and Science Center.

Through a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, he and a team of scientists are combining environmental data gathered through earth-imaging satellites and disease data from public health professionals in the Amhara region of Ethiopia to anticipate malaria outbreaks.

Wimberly has been studying the environmental determinants of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and West Nile virus, for 10 years and has applied the results to develop maps and forecasts of disease risk. He can be reached for comment at Michael.wimberly@sdstate.edu or (605)695-0869.


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