Infectious diseases that are transmitted to people by animals are the focus of intense study by medical professionals and public health organizations worldwide. The U.S. Geological Survey is contributing to these studies by investigating links between insect-transmitted diseases such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease and the landscape. Using satellite imagery and data about vegetation, topography, and climate, EROS scientists classify terrain in terms of how suitable it is as habitat for disease-carrying insects. By combining the results of these lands characterizations with information about incidence of disease, researchers can create computer models that help predict where, when, and to what extent future outbreaks may occur.
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