Project Premonition: Using Drones To Detect Emerging Diseases

Microsoft Research Project Uses Drones To Track Emerging Diseases




” Mosquitoes. They can ruin your backyard barbeque and leave you covered with itchy welts. Or, their bites may also transmit dangerous pathogens. The World Health Organization estimates that mosquito-borne diseases kill more than 1 million people annually. In fact, mosquitoes do more than just transmit pathogens. Their ability to locate and sample the blood of many species of animals means they can be used to monitor pathogens carried by animals in the wild. In a sense, we can view mosquitoes as naturally occurring devices that sample the animal population. This is important, because many diseases—such as Ebola, SARS and MERS—reside in animals and emerge into the human population through complex interactions with animals.”



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” Disease emergence is difficult to predict, and can be catastrophic and extraordinarily expensive even if the disease does not become an epidemic. Usually, health officials only learn about an outbreak once people are already getting sick. And by then, it’s too late.

  Project Premonition was created with the hope of detecting diseases prior to outbreaks. And unique to this emerging infectious disease (EID) surveillance system is the use of the mosquito-as-a-device to obtain samples of pathogens from well-hidden animal populations. The hope is that Premonition addresses the drawbacks of existing systems.”


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