A GEOSPATIAL ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL DRIVERS AND VECTOR-BORNE DISEASES
MARIA IOANA VLAD-ȘANDRU1, C. IAŢU2
1 “Alexandru I. Cuza” University, Faculty of Geography, 20 A Carol I Boulevard, 700505, Iasi, Romania and Romanian Space Agency, 21-25, Mendeleev Str., Bucharest, Romania, Tel: +40 726175476, e-mail: email@example.com
2 Professor, “Alexandru I. Cuza” University, Faculty of Geography, 20 A Carol I Boulevard, 700505, Iasi, Romania, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABSTRACT. – A Geospatial Analysis of the Relationship between Environmental Drivers and Vector-Borne Diseases. Human health is profoundly affected by weather and climate. Environmental health is becoming a major preoccupation on a world-wide scale; there is a close correlation between a population’s state of health and the quality of its environment, considering many infectious diseases are at least partly dependent on environmental factors. When we talk about the environment, we realize that it includes and affects fields of action from our daily life. Earth observation from space, with validation from in situ observations, provide a greater understanding of the environment and enable us to monitor and predict key environmental phenomena and events that can affect our livelihoods and health. Even thought, the use of Earth observation is growing in usefulness for a wide variety of uses, it is extremely unlikely that Earth Observation will be able to detect infectious diseases directly. Instead, Earth observation can be used to detect high NDVI index (and possibly attribute the high surface chlorophyll concentration to a particular disease), and help predict the movement of the agents carrying vector-borne disease. Many diseases need certain temperature and moisture conditions to breed. The primary objective of analyzing environmental health risk and vulnerabilities is to support the Development Regions to strengthen their capacity to assess, visualize and analyze health risks and incorporate the results of this analysis in a health risk map for disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness and response plans. At the same time, such an analysis applied in health, allows starting the collection and homogenization of baseline data, information and maps to help health authorities and decision makers to take informed decisions in times of crises. Informational Health Platform would be used for the integration of data coming from different sources in order to assess, analyze and map vulnerabilities and risks, contributing to the continuity of the decision process during the different phases of the emergency cycle. Decision support tools are based on creating health vulnerability platforms, which can be used first of all to evaluate the environmental conditions and to predict the possible risk of a disease infection in a given location, including variables as population densities, socio-economic issues, health indicators, accessibility to health care, land cover type, soil moisture and surface temperature. The fundamental purpose of this work is to reveal the necessity of establishing a quality framework for arguing on the connection between the environment and vector-borne disease transmission, supposing that on any kind of forecasting it is established the extent to which the past is likely to be an accurate guide for the future.
Keywords: NDVI, vegetation, soil moisture, temperature, LANDSAT TM, vector