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Puerto Rico Is Fighting Zika With Cloud Technology


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Distant servers help researchers count mosquito eggs and locate potential breeding grounds.

An initiative by the Puerto Rico Vector Control Unit is attempting to track mosquitos with the potential to carry the Zika virus.

Credit: Lia Kantrowitz/Bloomberg Businessweek

A project to track Zika-carrying mosquitoes across Puerto Rico is developing solutions that could help other parts of the world cope with mosquito-borne diseases.

The Puerto Rico Vector Control Unit collects data on females of the Aedes aegypti species, storing it on remote Microsoft Azure servers and using the cloud to exchange information quickly between field and laboratory researchers.

Field workers collect mosquitoes from traps and localize them with an iPhone app; an atypically high number of A. aegypti in a specific locale prompts software to dispatch workers to identify breeding sites and gather samples.

Mapping software pulls data from the cloud to determine which traps have attracted the most females and identify homes where larva-killing poisons have been deployed.

The counting of mosquito eggs is accelerated by Wovenware algorithms that analyze photos uploaded to a program in the cloud; Wovenware's Carlos Melendez says the software will ultimately assess whether an egg has hatched, tallying and identifying adults by species and sex.

From Bloomberg
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