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Weather Models Help Forecast Health Risks

Posted on January 03 2013

Through many recent studies, the forecasting of disease spread is modeled after, and heavily reliant on, weather forecasting. Over the course of the past few decades, researchers have been looking into the correlation of forecasting illness and disease events with forecasting weather events. Many diseases arise or spread due to certain weather conditions, which can also intensify the damaging effects of an illness. Through the development of better technologies, researchers are able to view forecasts and previous weather models to design their own for a number of dangerous ailments including West Nile Virus, Malaria, and the seasonal Flu. In fact, a very recent study displayed scientist’s beliefs that they could predict the flu season peak of New York City, nearly 7 weeks in advance. These studies are extremely important for a number of public health reasons. Not only do the studies pinpoint locations, but they can also give advanced warning of dangerous disease far enough in advance that something can be done to save lives. While not every study comes out accurate, most studies have been accurate within reason. This is exciting to health officials who can now prepare the public for outbreaks. It also gives the public time to formulate plans to avoid ailments and take precautions, if they heed warnings. Having been started decades ago, these studies coupled with advancing technology can provide new models for infection control. While predicting weather is a feat in itself, predicting disease can be a bit more complicated. However, scientists are making this new predictability model work and it greatly benefits the overall health of the public in any nation. Sources: Yahoo - Health - AP Article - http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/ap/flu-malaria-disease-forecasters-look-to-the-sky


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