BITING ARTHROPODS: INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit
Title: Remote Sensing Contributions to Prediction and Risk Assessment of Natural Diasters Caused by Large Scale Rift Valley fever Outbreaks
Submitted to: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Ocean temperature, rainfall and vegetations development information gathered by earth-orbiting satellites over the last 30 years have been used to better understand the transmission of human and animal disease that are transmitted by insects. Outbreaks of one human and animal disease in Africa and the Middle East, Rift Valley fever, have been linked to El Niño climate events, allowing the prediction of outbreaks many months before they occur. This information is being used to reduce the risk of outbreaks, significantly improving human and animal health, trade, and associated economic impacts.
Remotely sensed vegetation measurements for the last 30 years combined with other climate data sets such as rainfall and sea surface temperatures have come to play an important role in the study of the ecology of vector-borne diseases. We show that episodic outbreaks of Rift Valley fever are influenced by interannual climate variability driven by the El Niño/Southern Oscillation and its attendant effects on the ecology of disease vectors through rainfall and vegetation development. This information is now utilized to monitor, model, and map areas of potential Rift Valley fever outbreaks and is used as an early warning system for risk reduction of outbreaks to human and animal health, trade, and associated economic impacts. The continuation of such satellite measurements is critical to anticipating, preventing, and managing disease epidemics and epizootics and other climate-related disasters.