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Drones Combat Dengue and Zika Outbreaks in Brazil

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a carrier of Malaria, Encephalitis, Dengue and Zika virus.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a carrier of Malaria, Encephalitis, Dengue and Zika virus.

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Drones Combat Dengue and Zika Outbreaks in Brazil

Unmanned aerial vehicles are being used in the recognition of outbreaks of proliferation of mosquitoes transmitting dengue and zika virus in Cuiabá, capital city of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.

Authorities fighting the Aedes aegypti mosquito have new allies – drones. In order to deal with the mosquito-associated epidemics, which transmit disease viruses such as dengue fever, zika virus and chikungunya and yellow fevers, a partnership between the company Loglab and the Cuiabá Municipal Government has commenced the mapping and monitoring of mosquito larvae in Mato Grosso.

According to the founder of Loglab, Fernando Pereira, the UAV is a new weapon in the war against the mosquito. With advanced technology, breeding sites are identified from the top most efficiently and quickly. “A more efficient form of combat, as the drone identifies and marks mosquito-focused sites via geographic points, and that data is passed on to ground crews that can increase the effectiveness of their work. What generates cost and personal savings, ” he points out.

According to information from the local authorities, the UAV will fly over the districts marked as the worst areas for mosquito proliferation by the LIRAa (Aedes aegypti Rapid Infestation Index Survey). The resulting maps, which will contain information about the main breeding sites computed by region, street and house, will serve as a guide for the Preventive Action Committee against the Aedes aegypti mosquito to prioritise programs to combat Aedes.

Unlike an recreational consumer drone, the professional UAV technology being used is 200 times more productive than traditional methods, and can gather information on a large scale.

Sample map captured by the drone

By capturing photogrammetric images that can accurately locate and georeference the breeding centre, analysis is done and a database created. “At the end, a photogrammetric block of the regions is delivered, along with the database of potential foci,” explains system analyst Leonardo Heros.

In addition, the images have at least 10 times more resolution than satellite images. “These are virtually real-time images, unlike satellites that may have up to a few years of lag. Another point is the speed in collecting information…we managed to make a neighborhood like Pedro 90, which has about 500 blocks, in a few hours,” he says.

The neighborhood, which has about 25 thousand inhabitants, is among the most worrisome of Cuiabá according to the survey. Sampling indicated Aedes aegypti outbreaks throughout the region and of these, more than 70% were in containers of water storage, whether in use or abandoned. Garbage is also another usual suspect, representing 30% of breeding sites.

The use of drones for mapping and monitoring mosquito larvae is part of an Integrated Health System project, which Loglab is developing for the Municipal Health Secretary. “The project will integrate the entire health network of the City Hall, whether medical records electronic, attendance control, preventive actions like drone. For example, UPA do Morada do Ouro and the Distribution Center, already have the system in place, these two places are as a pilot project, to understand the difficulties and then to expand”, explains Fernando Pereira.

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Cite this article as: Sarah Whittaker, "Drones Combat Dengue and Zika Outbreaks in Brazil," in DroneBelow.com, March 15, 2018, https://dronebelow.com/2018/03/15/drones-combat-dengue-and-zika-outbreaks-in-brazil/.
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