Remote sensing and climate data as a key for understanding fasciolosis transmission in the Andes: review and update of an ongoing interdisciplinary project
AbstractFasciolosis caused by Fasciola hepatica in various South American countries located on the slopes of the Andes has been recognized as an important public health problem. However, the importance of this zoonotic hepatic parasite was neglected until the last decade. Countries such as Peru and Bolivia are considered to be hyperendemic areas for human and animal fasciolosis, and other countries such as Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela are also affected. At the beginning of the 1990s a multidisciplinary project was launched with the aim to shed light on the problems related to this parasitic disease in the Northern Bolivian Altiplano. A few years later, a geographic information system (GIS) was incorporated into this multidisciplinary project analysing the epidemiology of human and animal fasciolosis in this South American Andean region. Various GIS projects were developed in some Andean regions using climatic data, climatic forecast indices and remote sensing data. Step by step, all these GIS projects concerning the forecast of the fasciolosis transmission risk in the Andean mountain range were revised and in some cases updated taking into account new data. The first of these projects was developed on a regional scale for the central Chilean regions and the proposed model was validated on a local scale in the Northern Bolivian Altiplano. This validated mixed model, based on both fasciolosis climatic forecast indices and normalized difference vegetation index values from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer satellite sensor, was extrapolated to other human and/or animal endemic areas of Peru and Ecuador. The resulting fasciolosis risk maps make it possible to show the known human endemic areas of, mainly, the Peruvian Altiplano, Cajamarca and Mantaro Peruvian valleys, and some valleys of the Ecuadorian Cotopaxi province. Nevertheless, more climate and remote sensing data, as well as more accurate epidemiological reports, have to be incorporated into these GIS projects, which should be considered the key in understanding fasciolosis transmission in the Andes.
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Copyright (c) 2006 Màrius V. Fuentes
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