Vector-borne diseases are caused by major human pathogens such as plasmodia (Malaria) and flaviviruses (Zika, Dengue, West Nile), and consist a global threat to public health with far-reaching socio-economic impacts. Vector-borne pathogens move between humans and animals by means of vectors-insects rendering the control of their spread into a major challenge. In order to design an efficient prevention strategy we need to know WHERE and WHEN these pathogens are more likely to emerge. Beside population movements, their transmission risk is highly dependent on the integrated ecology of host and vector populations, the later presenting geographic and seasonal patterns affected by climate/environmental factors.
The West Nile Virus (WNV) which has a global distribution, has relatively recently emerged into SE Europe.
The virus is maintained in bird population reservoirs and is transmitted to humans through mosquitos of the culex genus.
EO is valuable to address this challenge as it systematically provides updated information on climatic and environment variables e.g. rainfall, soil temperature, wind, humidity, habitats, vegetation, water, soil moisture, urbanization, and geo-morphological parameters affecting the number and survival rate of vectors transmitting pathogens.
EO4EViDence studies the WNV as a proof of concept in a Greek site building upon the MALWEST project. It integrates in-situ collected data that will allow calibration and validation of risk modeling and early warning alerts. The early warning application integrates data from disparate fields (climate, environment, population and bird movements, transportation data, epidemiology & molecular epidemiology) to model the transmissibility risk of WNV.
The meteorological radar systems of NOA’s climate change station in Antikythera will detect as aerial plankton migrating birds and insects. The radar based observations are the proxy to identify the spatiotemporal patterns of WNV spread from Africa to Europe.
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