Infectious Disease Risks On The Rise

Global travel and human alterations to the environment, such as rapid urbanization, are helping to fuel some infectious diseases outbreaks. In many developing countries, people are moving from rural areas to mega-cities, where they continue to practice subsistence agriculture. Whenever you have large concentrations of people, domestic animals and poor sanitation and water supply, you have many opportunities for disease transmission.

Queensland, Australia is experiencing its worst outbreak in two decades of the dengue fever. About 1,000 people have become ill with the mosquito-borne illness. The outbreak was traced to a patient who had recently traveled to Papua, New Guinea. Although quite sick, he didn’t go to a doctor for several weeks. Whenever you have a lag time in diagnosis like that, you miss opportunities to prevent the spread of an outbreak.

GIS and spatial statistics are being used in the situation to help health authorities determine which cases are more likely to lead to other cases, so that they can better target which houses should be sprayed for mosquitoes immediately, and which ones can wait.

For more information, please read the full article here.

Melissa Lawrence, Rutgers Student Intern, VERTICES, LLC

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