The new system, called AeDES, is expected to help public health authorities identify at-risk areas at least a month ahead of time, improving response and planning operations.
Researchers led by Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and the Pan-American Health Organization have developed a system to monitor and forecast the environmental suitability of transmission of Zika, dengue fever, chikungunya and other diseases carried by species of Aedes mosquitos in the U.S. and neighboring regions.
Their results show that the forecasting skill of the new system is very good, with ‘hotspots’ of higher skill in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. The team published its findings in Nature Scientific Reports.
As a demonstration, the researchers used AeDES to predict that the current dengue outbreak in Central America will continue during the rest of 2020 and most likely will worsen. The compound effect of dengue and the ongoing COVID pandemic is expected to increase the number of co-infections in the region, the authors write.
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