A team of scientists from NASA, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and other institutions have developed a risk map that works to forecast the potential spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the U.S. from South America.
The National Institutes of Health also supported the team in efforts to design a tool that examines factors such as temperature, rainfall and socioeconomic aspects that may affect the spread of the virus in an effort to predict the time and scope of a potential outbreak, NASA said Wednesday.
“Knowledge is one of the most effective barriers to disease transmission and can alleviate unnecessary concern,” said Cory Morin, a NASA postdoctoral program fellow at the Marshall Space Flight Center’s Earth Science Office.
Morin said transmission officials can create strategies that work to limit the spread of Zika through identification of risk factors.
The scientists believethe Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the virus will multiply across the southern and eastern U.S. in the coming months as warmer temperatures arrive during the summer months along the Atlantic coast and southern tier out to Phoenix and Los Angeles.