An opinion piece recently published in Trends in Parasitology contends that drones provide an effective way to analyze the impact environmental factors have on the spread of infectious diseases.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine believes drones can help cut costs when it comes to ecological research.
“Drones can provide highly accurate information on changes to land, such as deforestation or changing types of agriculture,” Lead Author and London School Research Fellow Kimberly Fornace said. “This helps to understand the impact on the movement and distribution of people, animals and insects that carry disease.”
Fornace is also a member of the Monkeybar project team, which is using drones to study new malaria infections in Southeast Asia originally thought to only be present in monkeys but are now presenting in humans. The project is funded by the UK Research Council Living with Environmental Change initiative.
The researchers are using an unmanned drone to track alterations in human, mosquito and monkey habitats and why the changes are affecting human infection.
Team members from the Monkeybar project will present their data at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene annual meeting next month.