Oxford University uses Google Earth and DNA sequencing to track disease


Researchers at Oxford University used Google Earth to track the spread of typhoid in Kathmandu, Nepal. To map things out they combined DNA sequencing and GPS devices to track the outbreaks back to their source.

Their findings on Google Earth clearly showed a cluster of typhoid infections within a square kilometer area. In addition they showed that people near to water sources and people living at a lower altitude are at greater risk typhoid.

The increase in throughput with next gen DNA sequencing so far have only allowed scientists to accurately track the spread of some diseases by measuring the rate of mutations in the DNA of the disease-causing microbe. And up to now tracking the spread of typhoid was a challenging task as these mutations are small in number and not detectable by most techniques in use.

Since street names are not commonly used in Nepal to health workers had to use GPS to capture the exact location while collecting blood sample from the patient… via

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