Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Forecasting Outbreaks—1 Image at a Time

To help prevent disease outbreaks in the U.S., we need to improve public health all around the world, not just within our own borders.
August 10, 2017
An image from a Landsat satellite of Brazil, where the Amazon flows into the Rio Negro and Solimoes River. Satellite imagery like this will be coupled with epidemiological data, meteorological data, and Internet data streams to identify conditions that could potentially lead to disease outbreaks.

An image from a Landsat satellite of Brazil, where the Amazon flows into the Rio Negro and Solimoes River. Satellite imagery like this will be coupled with epidemiological data, meteorological data, and Internet data streams to identify conditions that could potentially lead to disease outbreaks.CREDIT: Descartes Labs

Forecasting Outbreaks—1 Image at a Time

by Nick Generous

Better tracking of infectious diseases can help us improve disease prediction and, consequently, more quickly stop their spread. At Los Alamos National Laboratory we’ve been using mathematics and computer modeling since the early 2000s to do exactly that. It’s easy to see how tracking diseases and stemming their spread are vital to national security. Diseases don’t care about boundaries. They don’t respect borders and they aren’t governed by political ideology. All it takes to spread an infectious disease is for an infected person to carry it from one place to another. In today’s globally connected society that’s all too easy.

This story first appeared in Scientific American.


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