Enhancing Remotely Sensed TIR Data for Public Health Applications: Is West Nile Virus Heat-Related?

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Qihao Weng1, Hua Liu2 and Yitong Jiang1, (1)Indiana State University, Center for Urban and Environmental Change, Terre Haute, IN, United States, (2)Old Dominion University, Geography, Gloucester, VA, United States
Public health studies often require thermal infrared (TIR) images at both high temporal and spatial resolution to retrieve LST. However, currently, no single satellite sensors can deliver TIR data at both high temporal and spatial resolution. This technological limitation prevents the wide usage of remote sensing data in epidemiological studies. To solve this issue, we have developed a few image fusion techniques to generate high temporally-resolved image data. We downscaled GOES LST data to 15-minute 1-km resolution to assess community-based heat-related risk in Los Angeles County, California and simulated ASTER datasets by fusing ASTER and MODIS data to derive biophysical variables, including LST, NDVI, and normalized difference water index, to examine the effects of those environmental characteristics on WNV outbreak and dissemination. A spatio-temporal analysis of WNV outbreak and dissemination was conducted by synthesizing the remote sensing variables and mosquito surveillance data, and by focusing on WNV risk areas in July through September due to data sufficiency of mosquito pools. Moderate- and high-risk areas of WNV infections in mosquitoes were identified for five epidemiological weeks. These identified WNV-risk areas were then collocated in GIS with heat hazard, exposure, and vulnerability maps to answer the question of whether WNV is a heat related virus. The results show that elevation and built-up conditions were negatively associated with the WNV propagation, while LST positively correlated with the viral transmission. NDVI was not significantly associated with WNV transmission. San Fernando Valley was found to be the most vulnerable to mosquito infections of WNV. This research provides important insights into how high temporal resolution remote sensing imagery may be used to study time-dependant events in public health, especially in the operational surveillance and control of vector-borne, water-borne, or other epidemic diseases.