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Since farming and urban activities can significantly contribute to microbial contamination of recreational waters, the Public Health Agency of Canada uses data from various Earth observation satellites, including RADARSAT-2, to study the environmental characteristics of areas near beaches. This information allows specialists to monitor water quality in a targeted manner in order to protect public health.
Satellite information can help specialists predict a rise in environmentally related medical conditions. Decreasing ozone levels, for example, are linked with increased UV radiation and more cases of skin cancer. The same is true for data on air and water quality.
Tele-epidemiology is an emerging field that aims to use satellites to study the environmental factors that indicate an outbreak or the spread of infectious diseases among populations. From space, experts can monitor climate and ecological conditions that indicate the presence of disease vectors in specific locations. In some cases, this makes it possible to alert local health authorities so that control measures can be put in place.
Advances in space technology have led to state-of-the-art systems and applications that are revolutionizing public health services, particularly for those living in remote and isolated locations.
- Telemedicine applications like tele-operated surgical systems now exist thanks to innovations in both satellite communications and robotic technology developed for Canadarm.
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