August 8th, 2014
11:27 AM ET

Can Weather Patterns Help Predict Disease Outbreaks?

Scientists and meteorologists are able to predict the weather - could they apply the same technology to predicting epidemics like Ebola?

Carlos Watson, co-founder and editor of OZY, appeared on "New Day" Friday to discuss the efficacy of climate change data and technology, and how it could prevent future outbreaks.

Researchers have found that there could be correlations between weather patterns and the development of disease in a specific region.

"When there are periods of prolonged dryness, followed by rains and heat, that is sometimes when they see the Ebola outbreak," Watson said.

These patterns of precipitation or drought could also prove effective in preempting outbreaks of malaria and meningitis in Africa.

He conceded that, similar to the science of weather prediction, there is room for error, and that some data is not conclusive.

But, bolstered by NASA satellite images and Google Earth, scientists are able to gather more information about climate patterns than ever before.

Watson cited the research of one scientist in Singapore who developed a model that could track outbreaks of Dengue fever up to four months in advance.

dengue forecast

Risk of contracting Dengue rose three to four months after hot weather and heavy precipitation, researchers found.

Read more on this topic from OZY: The Science of Predicting Disease Outbreaks

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