Geospatial tools for the identification of a malaria corridor in Estado Sucre, a Venezuelan north-eastern state

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Laura Delgado-Petrocelli
Alberto Camardiel
Víctor Hugo Aguilar
Néstor Martinez
Karenia Córdova
Santiago Ramos *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Santiago Ramos | santiago.ramos@ciens.ucv.ve

Abstract

Landscape ecology research relies on frameworks based on geographical information systems (GIS), geostatistics and spatial-feature relationships. With regard to health, the approach consists of systems analysis using a set of powerful tools aimed at the reduction of community vulnerability through improved public policies. The north-oriental malaria focus, one of five such foci in Venezuela, situated in the north-eastern part of the Estado Sucre state, unites several social and environmental features and functions as an epidemiological corridor, i.e. an endemic zone characterised by permanent interaction between the mosquito vector and the human host allowing a continuous persistence of the malaria lifecycle. A GIS was developed based on official cartography with thematic overlays depicting malaria distribution, socio-economic conditions, basic environmental information and specific features associated with the natural wetlands present in the area. Generally, malaria foci are continuously active but when the malaria situation was modelled in the north-oriental focus, a differential, spatio-temporal distribution pattern situation was found, i.e. a situation oscillating between very active and dormant transmission. This pattern was displayed by spatial and statistical analysis based on the model generated in this study and the results were confirmed by municipal and county malaria records. Control of malaria, keeping the incidence at a permanently low level within the regional population, should be possible if these results are taken into account when designing and implementing epidemiological surveillance policies.

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