Using NASA Remote Sensing to Address Public Health Concerns Regarding Dengue Fever in Mexican States

Map showing a monthly estimate in the year 2006 for our study area. Brown areas with negative values represent scarce vegetation, while greener areas with positive values represent abundant vegetation.

This image shows our efforts in obtaining NDVI values through the use of software programs such as the MODIS Reprojection Tool (MRT) and ArcGIS. The map shows a monthly estimate in the year 2006 for our study area. Brown areas with negative values represent scarce vegetation, while greener areas with positive values represent abundant vegetation.

Team Location: Wise, Virginia

Authors: Apsara Aryal, Delores Hayes, Pedro J. Rodríguez Rivera, Alan Antonio Gandarilla Huerta, María Fernanda Torres Garza.

Advisors/Mentors: Dr. Max Moreno, Yanina Colón, Giovanni Colberg.

Abstract: Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is a virus-based, vector-borne disease that is known to be spread by several of the mosquitoes within the Aedes genus, primarily the female mosquito of the species Aedes aegypti. In past decades, Dengue fever has become a worldwide problem and today is known to be prevalent in most of the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Currently, there is no vaccine against the disease, so among the best approaches for disease surveillance is monitoring the vector that carries Dengue fever. Based on this aspect, the project aims to use NASA sensor technologies, such as the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), Giovanni TRMM Online Visualization and Analysis System (TOVAS), Atmospheric Infrared Sounder/Aqua and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer/Aqua (MODIS/Aqua), and in situ information to research how we might use satellite remote sensing to study environmental factors which may serve as indicators for Dengue fever outbreaks in the Mexican states of Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Veracruz, Distrito Federal and Yucatán. Therefore, to determine how closely associated these environmental factors are with reported cases of Dengue fever, the study concentrates its efforts in calculating a monthly incidence rate for each state from 2006 to 2010. Then, we determined the percentage of influence that each environmental factor has on the frequency of Dengue fever cases each month. We are planning on establishing a suitable spatiotemporal model which allows us to come up with a forecasting method that represents a viable platform when taking preventive measures to ensure public health in Mexico.

Video transcript available here.