Health

Precipitation extremes, from heavy rainfall to droughts, pose great risks to a country’s economic development and their societal health. Throughout the world, standing water and flooding as a result from heavy rainfall has created vulnerabilities to waterborne disease outbreaks, indoor air quality problems, to infrastructure damage including roads, buildings, and industrial facilities. Drought and extreme heat conditions have been associated with a broad set of health hazards including degraded air and water quality, have impacted human migration, and have damaged transportation such as roads, rail lines, and airport runways. The Development and Public Health Applications area encourages the use of satellite precipitation data from the GPM mission in development decisions and public health, particularly involving socioeconomic development issues and infectious diseases.

Banner for the GPM Disease Initiative
Vector-borne diseases are responsible for over 17% of all the infectious diseases globally. Many of these diseases are preventable through protective measures, provided local authorities are aware of the potential outbreaks of the responsible vectors. Vectors are living organisms that are able to transmit diseases between humans or from animals to humans. These diseases include but are not limited to cholera, malaria, dengue fever, Zika, schistosomiasis, and West Nile fever.
Using Precipitation Data to Track Cholera
Diarrheal diseases such as cholera continue to be a public health threat. Prediction of an outbreak of diarrheal disease, specifically cholera, following a natural disaster remains a challenge, especially in regions lacking basic safe civil infrastructure such as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The underlying mechanism of a cholera outbreak is associated with disruption in the human access to safe WASH infrastructure that results in the population using unsafe water containing pathogenic vibrios. Presence and abundance of Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, are related to modalities of the environment and regional weather as well as the climate systems.
Using NASA Satellite Data to Predict Malaria Outbreaks
In the Peruvian Amazon, the Anopheles darlingi mosquito is most responsible for spreading malaria. With funding from NASA's Applied Sciences Program, scientists are turning to the agency’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites to develop a system that uses satellite and other data to help forecast malaria outbreaks at the household level months in advance and prevent them from happening. Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center / Joy Ng In the Amazon Rainforest, few animals are as dangerous to humans as mosquitos that transmit malaria. The tropical disease can bring on high fever, headaches...