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VECMAP A One-stop shop for disease vector risk mapping

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VECMAP A One-stop shop for disease vector risk mapping

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VECMAP: A ONE-STOP
SHOP FOR DISEASE
VECTOR RISK MAPPING
Vector-borne diseases are of
increasing concern to public
health in Europe
The challenge
Dengue, West Nile Fever, Tick-Borne
Encephalitis and Lyme Disease are of
increasing concern. Yet little is known
about the distribution of diseases or the
vectors that transmit them to humans
(mosquitoes, ticks etc.). Effective
strategic planning for control in the event
of an outbreak is impossible.
There are well established techniques
for mapping vectors or the risk of spread,
which are necessary inputs to planning
and implementing surveillance and
control strategies. They are however
complex, involving field sampling,
statistical distribution modelling, and
satellite image processing. Only a few
specialist technicians are able to use
them.
Benefits to citizens
VECMAP allows clients such as public
health institutes, researchers and vector
control companies to do more for less.
Its unique benefit is to offer a One-stop-
shop with extensive technical support to
the end users that demystifies the
methodologies, ensures continued
access to state-ofthe-art techniques,
and makes the outputs more transparent
and applicable. The VECMAP system is
an enabling tool allowing stakeholders to
directly produce the information needed
to evaluate the risk posed by disease
vectors and their potential spread. It also
allows practitioners to be more cost
effective, and extend their activities to
new areas or maintain them in an era of
declining economic resources. VECMAP
will therefore directly benefit the public
good by improving and extending
institutional and corporate capability in
Europe to respond to risks or nuisance
posed by current and newly emerging
vectors and vector-borne diseases.
Southeast England
Laboratory tests show that tiger
mosquito, now spreading in Europe,
is able to carry more than 20
diseases. Photo: J. Gathany/CDC.
‘VECMAP makes us more effective in assessing risks of vector borne
diseases.’ Marieta Braks, RIVM, the Netherlands, June 2012
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Wint, W.(1), Hendrickx, G.(2), Ducheyne, E.(2), Bastier,S.(3) and Morley, D.(4)
(1) ERGO Ltd, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK, william.wint@zoo.ox.ac.uk
(2) Avia-GIS, Zoersel, Belgium, ghendrickx@avia-gis.be; educheyne@avia-gis.be
(3) MEDES Toulouse, France. stephane.bastier@medes.fr
(4) Zoology Department, University of Oxford, UK
The space-based solution
VECMAP is supported by ESA’s
Integrated Application Promotion
program. It fosters the development of
sustainable user-driven services
integrating multiple space technologies
like Earth Observation, Navigation,
Satellite-Telecommunications, Human
Space-flight and terrestrial
technologies. VECMAP incorporates
two such assets: satellite navigation
and Earth Observation (narrow band
optical and infra-red imagery)
processed into environmental
indicators like climatic seasonality and
vegetation index. The first of these is
used in the design, planning and
execution of field sampling to establish
the vector distributions needed to
calibrate the final risk
models.VECMAP uses smartphones to
record data and a web or network data
transfer to link to a centralised data
archive. In this way field work often
the most expensive element of such
work can be optimised and cost-
effectiveness substantially enhanced.
Distribution modelling software is fed
by VECMAP field data and using
predictors derived from innovatively
processed MERIS, MODIS,
METEOSAT and SPOTIMAGE data.
Higher resolution vector habitat models
are also available as an additional
service.
The VECMAP Information System is
the glue that integrates all the
VECMAP components and provides
access to all the required supporting
data as well as the means to display
and analyse final mapped products.
Outlook for the future
VECMAP is being developed as a
sustainable commercial venture which
will improve the European capability to
respond to vector borne disease risk. A
major part of the consortium activities,
after the System's release in late 2013,
will be to maintain the inputs to the
sampling and risk modelling derived
from space assets such as Sentinel,
and to take advantage of advances in
satellite navigation and space-borne
environmental monitoring capabilities
to provide more reliable outputs.
Land
Human Health
A modelled vector distribution map
produced by Avia-GIS.
Chapter
Global warming together with global trade and tourism gives foreign organisms many opportunities to enter Europe and to find suitable habitats to establish themselves. A number of these species already have the status of pests in their native countries and are now starting to be a major concern in Europe. However, particularly in industrial countries there is growing rejection by the public of the use of synthetic insecticides. The use of these insecticides is restricted, e.g., in food production, by new national and European directives, and pest management is limited to monitoring and the use of baits in the presence of foodstuffs. The consequences for scientific research and for the pest control industry are to invest in insecticides with a novel action with special focus on user-friendly and eco-friendly properties. Existing resistance of pests to frequently used insecticides should be overcome by the development of compounds which interfere with the metabolism and nervous system of arthropods in ways different from those of conventional insecticides. Additionally, new monitoring systems are required which will also detect alien species. Completely new control strategies without short-acting insecticides and baits which can be used without risk of contaminating the environment should be developed particularly for sensitive areas such as food production, pharmacies, and hospitals. Countries with a high diversity of vegetation (e.g., tropical rainforests) will be of major significance in the research and development of natural compounds for pest control in the future.
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