Could more accurate weather forecasts help prevent epidemics? Yes, according to recent research. By getting thousands of buoys, satellites, and weather computers to talk to each other, scientists believe they can forecast the conditions that lead to infectious diseases like malaria. Madeleine Thomson, a researcher at Columbia University, thinks this newly linked system can predict malaria epidemics six months in advance. Malaria is the world's deadliest disease. Malaria is closely linked to weather. Mosquitoes that harbor the parasite that causes malaria need pools of still water in which to lay their eggs. More rain in the forecast means more pools of water ? and more malaria. Since malaria is both preventable and treatable, this gives a big heads-up to health officials in developing countries. They can order pesticide-treated mosquito nets, and preventative medicines and treatments to curb or even halt an epidemic. NASA thinks the same system could help control SARS, West Nile, and other diseases.