NASA Maps Show Zika Spreading in the U.S.
By: Fernando Ortiz
Houston, let’s get rid of Zika. NASA scientists helped the NCAR ( National Center for Atmospheric Research) create a map to better target future search-and-destroy mosquito missions. This is to aid in the fight against the females of the Aedes aegypti mosquito which are responsible for spreading diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and now zika.
NCAR researchers focused on 50 cities to make the map. The map uses temperature, amount of rainfall, poverty levels, and the amount of travelers that come from Zika infected countries. Most areas of the United States are safe during the winter, except for a little bit of Florida and the bottom part of Texas. Because of the low temperature mosquito eggs cannot hatch.
Rains are strong in the southeast, the risk is higher. By June all the 50 cities will be at low-to-moderate abundance. Eastern cities are suitable for moderate-to high abundance.
The cities with a high risk are Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Savannah, Charleston, Mobile, and New Orleans. New York, Philadelphia and Washington are at moderate risk.
An international group of researchers made a map of potential environmental hotspots worldwide. That map shows high risk areas in Africa, India, southeastern China and Indonesia.
“This information can help public health officials effectively target resources to fight the disease and control its spread,” said Dale Quattrochi, NASA senior research scientist at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.