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Article posted: 1/7/2013 6:00 AM

Flu? Malaria? Weather trends shaping disease forecasting

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Jeffrey Shaman led a study in New York City on forecasting the peak of flu season. Scientists hope to try real-time predictions as early as next year.

Associated Press

A mosquito is sorted according to species and gender before testing for West Nile virus at the Dallas County mosquito lab in Dallas. Scientists have been working on mathematical models to predict outbreaks for decades and have long factored in the weather.

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Only a 10 percent chance of showers today, but a 70 percent chance of flu next month. That's the kind of forecasting health scientists are trying to move toward, as they increasingly include weather data in their attempts to predict disease outbreaks. In one recent study, two scientists reported they could predict -- more than seven weeks in advance -- when flu season was going to peak in New York City.
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    • Jeffrey Shaman led a study in New York City on forecasting the peak of flu season. Scientists hope to try real-time predictions as early as next year.
    • A mosquito is sorted according to species and gender before testing for West Nile virus at the Dallas County mosquito lab in Dallas. Scientists have been working on mathematical models to predict outbreaks for decades and have long factored in the weather.
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