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Tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme borreliosis: comparison of habitat risk assessments using satellite data (an experience from the Central Bohemian region of the Czech Republic).


The vegetation types have been used as the indicators of an ecosystem suitable for high incidence of Ixodes ricinus ticks and their hosts, for the circulation of tick-borne diseases pathogens and, accordingly, for the existence of natural foci of these infections, namely tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and
Lyme borreliosis (LB). The method of remote sensing offers a suitable solution to this problem. We attempted to prepare the habitat risk assessment maps on the territory (11,500 km2) of Central Bohemia (Czech Republic) using Landsat 5 TM imagery. Nine forest classes have been recognized in the satellite data and further identified in a field checking botanical survey. Beside the conclusions dealing with the importance of different plant types for I. ricinus occurrence, also the epidemiological TBE and LB maps based on human cases contracted in the territory under study were exploited for the evaluation of particular forest classes significance, and for the comparison of results achieved. Apart from a general pattern of risk gradation from coniferous to deciduous wood types, both TBE and LB data suggest a specific position of the heterogeneous deciduous wood class (including mainly young deciduous stands and stand ecotones with highly heterogeneous structure). Epidemiological significance of the other particular forest classes was assessed by the degrees of positive class-to-risk associations (see Table 1 and 2).

Cent Eur J Public Health. 1999 Feb;7(1):35-9. Comparative Study; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t [1]