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Volume 6, Number 3—June 2000

Remote Sensing and Human Health: New Sensors and New Opportunities

Louisa R. Beck*†Comments to Author , Bradley M. Lobitz†, and Byron L. Wood†
Author affiliations: *California State University, Monterey Bay, California, USA; †NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USA

Main Article

Table 3

Potential links between remotely sensed factors and disease

Factor Disease Mapping opportunity
Vegetation/crop type Chagas disease Palm forest, dry & degraded woodland habitat for triatomines
Hantavirus Preferred food sources for host/reservoirs
Leishmaniasis Thick forests as vector/reservoir habitat in Americas
Lyme disease Preferred food sources and habitat for host/reservoirs
Malaria Breeding/resting/feeding habitats; Crop pesticides vector resistance
Plague Prairie dog and other reservoir habitat
Schistosomiasis Agricultural association with snails, use of human fertilizer
Trypanosomiasis Glossina habitat (forests, around villages, depending on species)
Yellow fever Reservoir (monkey) habitat
Vegetation green-up Hantavirus Timing of food sources for rodent reservoirs
Lyme disease Habitat formation and movement of reservoirs, hosts, vectors
Malaria Timing of habitat creation
Plague Locating prairie dog towns
Rift Valley fever Rainfall
Trypanosomiasis Glossina survival
Ecotones Leishmaniasis Habitats in and around cities that support reservoir (e.g., foxes)
Lyme disease Ecotonal habitat for deer, other hosts/reservoirs; human/vector contact risk
Deforestation Chagas disease New settlements in endemic-disease areas
Malaria Habitat creation (for vectors requiring sunlit pools)
Habitat destruction (for vectors requiring shaded pools)
Yellow fever Migration of infected human workers into forests where vectors exist
Migration of disease reservoirs (monkeys) in search of new habitat
Forest patches Lyme disease Habitat requirements of deer and other hosts, reservoirs
Yellow fever Reservoir (monkey) habitat, migration routes
Flooded forests Malaria Mosquito habitat
Flooding Malaria Mosquito habitat
Rift Valley fever Flooding of dambos, breeding habitat for mosquito vector
Schistosomiasis Habitat creation for snails
St. Louis encephalitis Habitat creation for mosquitoes
Permanent water Filariasis Breeding habitat for Mansonia mosquitoes
Malaria Breeding habitat for mosquitoes
Onchocerciasis Simulium larval habitat
Schistosomiasis Snail habitat
Wetlands Cholera Vibrio cholerae associated with inland water
Encephalitis Mosquito habitat
Malaria Mosquito habitat
Schistosomiasis Snail habitat
Soil moisture Helminthiases Worm habitat
Lyme disease Tick habitat
Malaria Vector breeding habitat
Schistosomiasis Snail habitat
Canals Malaria Dry season mosquito-breeding habitat; ponding; leaking water
Onchocerciasis Simulium larval habitat
Schistosomiasis Snail habitat
Human settlements Diseases Source of infected humans; populations at risk for transmission in general
Urban features Chagas disease Dwellings that provide habitat for triatomines
Dengue fever Urban mosquito habitats
Filariasis Urban mosquito habitats
Leishmaniasis Housing quality
Ocean color Cholera Phytoplankton blooms; nutrients, sediments
(Red tides)
Sea surface temperature Cholera Plankton blooms (cold water upwelling in marine environment)
Sea surface height Cholera Inland movement of Vibrio-contaminated tidal water

Main Article

1CHAART was established at Ames Research Center by NASA's Life Sciences Division, within the Office of Life & Microgravity Sciences & Applications, to make remote sensing, geographic information systems, global positioning systems, and computer modeling available to investigators in the human health community.

2The information gathered during the CHAART sensor evaluation process is available at

Page created: December 16, 2010
Page updated: December 16, 2010
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The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.