Skift Take

The basic tool needs to be updated to factor more sensitive variables into its measurement, but its findings can first be used to research which region needs the strongest preventative measures.

The Transportation Research Board, part of the National Research Council, commissioned a team of researchers from the University of Florida at Gainesville and the National Institutes of Health to develop a Web-based tool to help better define the roles that airports and airlines play in transmitting diseases across great distances. The researchers used airline traffic figures (scheduled flights throughout the global air network and the capacity of each aircraft), disease risk maps and climate data to come up with their online vector-borne disease airline importation risk (VBD-AIR) tool, which went live in May.

The researchers also want to expand the program to track a wider variety of diseases, which may include leishmaniasis, Rift Valley fever and chagas disease, depending upon available data.


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