Keywords: geostatistics, mosquitoes, remote sensing, West Nile virus, vector-borne diseases, health risks, GIS, geographical information systems, spatial statistics, risk assessment, risk management, USA, United States
Exploring GIS, spatial statistics and remote sensing for risk assessment of vector-borne diseases: a West Nile virus example
Vector-borne diseases pose a continuing health risk to the global population. In the United States, the spread of West Niles virus (WNV) in the past several years across the country has been alarming. Using WNV as an example, this paper demonstrates how geographic information science (GIScience) and attendant technologies in remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and spatial statistics, can be used for the surveillance and control of disease vectors in general, and specifically mosquitoes in the case of WNV. Data supporting the analyses consist of local field surveillance data, population demographic data, and remote sensing data for habitat characterisation and environmental conditions affecting mosquito vector breeding. The results of this paper provide evidence that these technologies, integrated in scientific methods, provide valuable information to formulate risk management policies and actions.