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Using satellite ‘light mapping’ to track disease outbreaks | 

This is kinda cool, as a possible means to track human migration and perhaps infectious disease risk — satellite tracking of light emissions.

Princeton University

Lights in Niger

The disease outbreak idea here seems like a bit of a stretch, I have to say.

What these researchers are tracking are population levels based on light output. From the population density, they infer the risk of disease outbreaks. I would think a more reliable diagnosis will still be best obtained by health workers on the ground. But who knows? Read for yourself.

From Princteon University:

Princeton University-led researchers report in the journal Science Dec. 9 that nighttime-lights imagery presents a new tool for pinpointing disease hotspots in developing nations by revealing the population boom that typically coincides with seasonal epidemics. In urban areas with migratory populations, the images can indicate where people are clustering by capturing the expansion and increasing brightness of lighted areas. The researchers found the technique accurately indicates fluctuations in population density — and thus the risk of epidemic — that can elude current methods of monitoring outbreaks.

Global Health Map | 

What in the world of health is happening? Do you know of an outbreak of disease or health issue that needs more attention? Humanosphere and HealthMap have partnered to create Global Health Map — a disease-tracking mapping tool that you can help keep current and informative. What’s happening with cholera in Haiti? Click on the stickpin. Is there a health issue in Tanzania we need to know more about? Post it.

HealthMap is a non-profit organization that has created this disease-tracking tool overseen by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston that documents outbreaks around the world based on data and reports from public health officials, governments, assistance organizations media and now you! The goal is to provide the public with a comprehensive, geographically organized visual description of what’s happening in global health. Please take a look, and contribute by clicking on Outbreak Missing. Your identity is not published.