Share icon
Globalization and advances in technology have brought the ease of international travel, increased trades and emigration. An unexpected side effect is that invasive species, disease vectors, and infectious diseases are also transported easily around the world. In particular are infectious respiratory diseases that can spread rapidly worldwide. Considering the historical and recent evidences and the high standard of American public health, it is generally postulated that future pandemic threats will originate from abroad instead of the US. Thus, a healthier America requires coordinated bilateral preventive and control efforts with public health agencies in other parts of the world. Such efforts underscore the role of global disease surveillance that can provide a framework for influenza early warning. Toward this end, we propose to develop climate-based models to predict influenza risks in major cities around the world. Previously under the Avian Influenza and Pandemic Influenza project funded by NASA, we have established the preliminary capabilities for modeling seasonal influenza using NASA data. The models can forecast influenza cases one-week or longer in advance within acceptable accuracy. We plan to refine the models and extend the capabilities to global scale in this proposed study. In order to achieve this goal, we will work with the CDC Influenza Division's International Epidemiology and Response Team. CDC currently has cooperative agreements on influenza surveillance with more than 40 countries, and we will acquire additional influenza data from approximately 15 developed countries ourselves. We will develop the predictive capabilities for seasonal influenza in major population centers selected from these 55 countries. Because more than one influenza strain may be in circulation, we will characterize their differential sensitivity to environmental parameters. The predictive and early warning capabilities developed by this project will promote influenza surveillance, prediction and control at CDC and key public health agencies around the world.