Remote sensing and risk assessment of vector transmitted diseases: Bluetongue
|Project type:||Long Term joint Research|
|Time frame:||2003 - 2005|
|Funding agency:||Belspo | Avia-GIS|
|Geographic keyword: Europe | Mediterranean | Greece | Bulgaria|
|General keyword: Remote sensing | Disease modeling|
|Specific keyword: Risk analysis | Cellular automata | Wind modelling | Bluetongue | Culicoides imicola|
Bluetongue is an arthropod-borne viral disease of ruminants. All ruminant species - sheep, goats, cattle, buffaloes, antelopes and deer - are susceptible. Of the domestic species, sheep are the most severely affected. Infection in cattle, although of great epidemiological (reservoir) and economical (import ban) significance, is generally sub-clinical.
The arthropod vectors of bluetongue are Culicoides (biting midges). Models have been published which link vector distribution patterns and dispersal after winter from endemic areas to a series of ground measured meteorological data (temperature, rainfall) as well as wind direction and speed in Australia. As the disease is currently emerging in southern Europe, modelling the disease and its spread has become of utmost importance. We focus on Greece and Bulgaria during this study.
As the spread of the vector is linked to wind speed and direction the first objective of this project is to derive wind information from both satellite imagery as well as from ground stations. The long distance dispersal of the disease will then be linked to the wind patterns. In a first stage, the presence/absence of the vector is modelled using MODIS imagery; then these maps are used as basis for the spread of the vector. New methodologies will be developed in order to derive wind information from the weather satellite Meteosat. This will be validated with on the ground measurements of wind, and if necessary these ground measurements will be used in combination with the wind derived from the satellite imagery.
The second objective of the project is then to model the short distance dispersal using cellular automata. Once the Culicoides have landed and if suitable habitat is present, they will disperse locally. This dispersal can be modelled using cellular automata, a technique commonly used in ecology to simulate population dynamics.
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