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Using the gravity model to estimate the spatial spread of vector-borne diseases.

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Abstract

The gravity models are commonly used spatial interaction models. They have been widely applied in a large set of domains dealing with interactions amongst spatial entities. The spread of vector-borne diseases is also related to the intensity of interaction between spatial entities, namely, the physical habitat of pathogens’ vectors and/or hosts, and urban areas, thus humans. This study implements the concept behind gravity models in the spatial spread of two vector-borne diseases, nephropathia epidemica and
Lyme borreliosis, based on current knowledge on the transmission mechanism of these diseases. Two sources of information on vegetated systems were tested: the CORINE land cover map and MODIS NDVI. The size of vegetated areas near urban centers and a local indicator of occupation-related exposure were found significant predictors of
disease risk. Both the land cover map and the space-borne dataset were suited yet not equivalent input sources to locate and measure vegetated areas of importance for
disease spread. The overall results point at the compatibility of the gravity model concept and the spatial spread of vector-borne diseases.

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Nov 30;9(12):4346-64. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9124346. Evaluation Studies; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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