Drones Help Show How Infectious Diseases Spread

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, can collect detailed information in real time at relatively low cost for ecological research.

In a new Opinion piece published in the Cell Press journal Trends in Parasitology, experts demonstrate that drones can be used to understand how environmental factors influence the spread of infectious diseases.

This is a 3D image of the researchers' study site in Malaysian Borneo using drone data and a photo of the Sensefly eBee drone up close. Image credit: Trends in Parasitology, Fornace et al.This is a 3D image of the researchers’ study site in Malaysian Borneo using drone data and a photo of the Sensefly eBee drone up close. Image credit: Trends in Parasitology, Fornace et al.

“Drones can provide highly accurate information on changes to land, such as deforestation or changing types of agriculture. This helps to understand the impact on the movement and distribution of people, animals, and insects that carry disease,” says lead author Kimberly Fornace, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in the UK.

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