Using satellite sensors could be a new way to predict outbreaks of deadly cholera if a leading scientist is to be believed.
Professor Rita Colwell, from the University of Maryland, US, has claimed that this method could pave the way for preventive medicine in countries that suffer epidemics.
Colwell said that her work might help in developing a predictive model that will provide forecasting of climatic conditions associated with specific infectious diseases, offering predictions of epidemics.
Residing in zooplankton, the cholera Vibrio can be found in bays, estuaries and rivers in temperate and tropical regions.
"Scientists have established a definable relationship between sea surface temperature, sea surface height and cholera epidemics. We can predict cholera epidemics by monitoring these factors using satellite sensors," said Colwell.
She added: "Cholera has afflicted humankind over the ages and remains a serious problem for the developing world. If the global effects of climate change are to be understood fully, we need to think about the human health aspect."
Colwell further said that a pre-emptive medicine might be possible for countries of the world suffering cholera epidemics.
"The issues are international and require a global scientific enterprise. The ultimate objective is an holistic understanding of the consequences of global warming and development of policies to address them," she said.
Colwell presented her ideas at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.