EPIDEMIA is a collaborative project involving scientists from South Dakota State University (SDSU) and the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) along with public health partners from government agencies and non-governmental organizations in the United States and Ethiopia. Our research involves analyzing, mapping, and forecasting the risk of infectious diseases across large areas. To carry out this work, we use a variety of geoinformatics technologies including satellite remote sensing for environmental monitoring, geographic information systems for data management and processing, and spatial statistics for analysis and modeling. The ultimate goal is to design early warning systems that can forecast the locations of future disease outbreaks based on environmental risk factors. To achieve this aim, we are developing the Epidemic Prognosis Incorporating Disease and Environmental Monitoring for Integrated Assessment (EPIDEMIA) system. This set of computational and analytical tools will integrate data from multiple sources, including earth observing satellites as well as epidemiological and entomological surveillance systems, to generate more timely and accurate predictions of disease outbreaks.
Our current work is focused on two mosquito-borne diseases: West Nile virus in the northern Great Plains region of the United States and malaria in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. Major collaborators include the Health, Development, and Anti-Malaria Association, the Amhara Regional Health Bureau, and the South Dakota Department of Health. We work closely with these public health organizations to determine how our forecasts and risk maps can best be applied to support disease prevention and control efforts. This research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01AI079411) and the NASA Applied Sciences Program (NNX11AF67G).