Team Location: Mobile County Health Department (MCHD), Mobile, Alabama
Authors: Marine Karapetyan, University of South Alabama; Dr. Moara Martins, Louisiana State University; Claire Shipman, University of West Florida; Hunter Winstanely, University of Alabama; Nathan Owen, Mississippi State University; Margaret Gordon, University of West Florida.
Advisors/Mentors: Dr. Maria Emilia Bavia, Laboratory for Monitoring of Diseases Using Geo-Technologies, Brazil; Joe Spruce, Computer Sciences Corp./NASA SSC; Dr. Madhuri Mulekar, University of South Alabama; Dr. Kenton Ross, NASA DEVELOP; Dr. Bert Eichold, Mobile County Health Department, Alabama.
Abstract: Leishmaniasis is a chronic, parasitic disease caused by Leishmania spp., which are transmitted by the bite of infected sandflies (vector). This disease is intrinsically associated with poverty, health inequities, and dynamic environmental features. Prevention and management of the disease are challenging because of disease dynamics and resistance to modern control methods. The use of satellite remote sensing technology has shown promising results in characterizing the environment in which the vectors thrive and assessing the risk of various vector-borne diseases at different spatial scales. This study used NASA EOS data to correlate disease occurrences with favorable environmental conditions, including precipitation, drought, vegetation, slope, moisture, and humidity. Current and potential areas at risk for disease were identified as well as characteristics of suitable areas for vector habitat and development. The results of this study will ultimately aid health authorities in the efficient allocation of mitigation resources.