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Landscape ecology and epidemiology of vector-borne diseases: tools for spatial analysis.

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Abstract

Geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), remote sensing, and spatial statistics are tools to analyze and integrate the spatial component in epidemiology of vector-borne
disease into research, surveillance, and control programs based on a landscape ecology approach. Landscape ecology, which deals with the mosaic structure of landscapes and ecosystems, considers the spatial heterogeneity of biotic and abiotic components as the underlying mechanism which determines the structure of ecosystems. The methodologies of GIS, GPS, satellite imagery, and spatial statistics, and the landscape ecology–epidemiology approach are described, and applications of these methodologies to vector-borne diseases are reviewed. Collaborative studies by the author and colleagues on malaria in Israel and tsetse flies in Kenya, and
Lyme disease, LaCrosse encephalitis, and eastern equine encephalitis in the north-central United States are presented as examples for application of these tools to research and
disease surveillance. Relevance of spatial tools and landscape ecology to emerging infectious diseases and to studies of global change effects on vector-borne diseases are discussed.

J Med Entomol. 1998 Jul;35(4):435-45. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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