Influenza Forecast Model

Seasonal influenza epidemics are a major public health concern with millions of cases of severe illness yearly in the US and large economic impact. Studies have shown a link between flu and humidity, a link particularly strong in temperate regions where seasonal variation is most pronounced. AIRS humidity is a crucial component of a quasi-operational influenza outbreak prediction system developed at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The goal of the model is to predict both short-term and overall flu season trends and characteristics including 1-4 week changes, onset, duration, timing of peaks and relative severity of the season, and provide results in a format useful for decision makers.

The JPL flu model is being assembled in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Acute Communicable Disease Control (LAC ACDC) with the goal of providing a predictive tool that can be used by the LAC ACDC and other organizations. Flu forecasts have become an important part of decision support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a version of the JPL flu forecasting system is being prepared to provide results according to CDC specifications. The global nature and consistency of AIRS data allows for the extension of the system outside the U.S. Beyond improving the model, efforts have also focused on strengthening partnerships with and determining decision support pipelines for the South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the South Africa branch of CDC.

Vector Borne Disease Prediction Model

The development and life cycle of disease-carrying Aedes mosquitos strongly depends on environmental variables. AIRS near-surface temperature and humidity products are being used to assess useful correlations and climate-dependent patterns that can be used in a prediction model for vector-borne disease risk.