A Google Earth-based database management for schistosomiasis control in Zanzibar

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Ming-Zhen He
Wei Li
Saleh Juma
Fatma Kabole
Da-Cheng Xu
Xin-Yao Wang
Jian He
Tao Jiang
Robert Bergquist
Kun Yang *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Kun Yang | yangkun@jipd.com

Abstract

Schistosomiasis remains a serious health problem in Africa. Although a strong, coordinated agenda for research on this disease has been in place for the last 50 years in Zanzibar, data storage, retrieval of survey data and management remain problem areas. We investigated the use of Google Earth (GE) in conjunction with a hand-held, global positioning system as a pilot project for managing schistosomiasis control. In this way, risk areas can be surveyed and followed up by visualizing both the distribution of human infections and that of the intermediate snail host together with environmental information. A platform with three spatial databases was created: i) Distribution of infected humans; ii) Distribution of the intermediate snail host in ponds (infected and not infected specimens); iii) Distribution of the intermediate snail host in streams (infected and non-infected specimens). The GE spatial database increased the efficiency of follow-up case treatment as well as snail control and contributed also to the discovery of previously unknown areas in need of snail control. We conclude that this platform is advantageous not only by being useful for management and visualization of spatial data, but also because it is easy to operate and available free of charge.


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