To improve the quality of epidemiological public health studies in the region, the scientific community of Mexico and South Africa, with the support of the mapping tool Google Earth, conducted a study in the fight against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as dengue, in countries with scarce resources.
According to María Alba Loroño Pino, a researcher at the Autonomous University of Yucatán, Google Earth was used to combine it with epidemiological information and geographical location data on the physical infrastructure of cities such as Mérida and Chetumal.
In addition to improving the quality of epidemiological public health studies in the region, "we tested the usefulness of this tool for the management of vector diseases (such as dengue), but with the right information it is possible to apply it to other environments and pathologies, and even for the control and monitoring of vaccination campaigns, "said the researcher.
Through Google Earth, and its archive of satellite images and maps, the team of scientists recorded information on sanitary facilities and water sources that may be potentially suitable for the spread of dengue-transmitting mosquitoes.
Then, they superimposed the data on the satellite maps to display and visualize the distribution of the disease, in order to facilitate the planning of public health services and the management of the disease.
The advantages of this Internet mapping tool in combating viral infections are several:
-and almost immediate availability of satellite images of urban areas in high resolution.
Another advantage is that the program can be combined with other free mapping tools and the data is easily interchangeable. The research was developed at the end of 2008 and published in the Bulletin of the WHO .