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Tracking rainfall and epidemics may lead to predicting outbreaks

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Malaria kills between one million and three million people in sub-Saharan Africa every year, most of them children. Disease outbreaks, which also include meningitis and dengue, have only recently been linked to variations in rainfall: more rain or drought can bring harsher epidemics. Using this understanding, scientists at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) several years ago piloted an early-warning system to forecast where the most devastating outbreaks will likely occur. Already the system has helped reduce cases of malaria in countries such as Botswana, Colombia and Senegal.

 
 

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