Satellites Predict a Cholera Outbreak Weeks in Advance. Scientific American, January 3, 2018.
A test in Yemen showed satellite data could foresee an outbreak four weeks before it exploded
Orbiting satellites can warn us of bad weather and help us navigate to that new taco joint. Scientists are also using data satellites to solve a worldwide problem: predicting cholera outbreaks.
Cholera infects millions of people each year, leading to thousands of deaths. Often communities do not realize an epidemic is underway until infected individuals swarm hospitals. Advanced warning for impending epidemics could help health workers prepare for the onslaught—stockpiling rehydration supplies, medicines and vaccines—which can save lives and quell the disease’s spread.
Back in May 2017 a team of scientists used satellite information to assess whether an outbreak would occur in Yemen, and they ended up predicting an outburst that spread across the country in June.
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