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Remote sensing, land cover changes, and vector-borne diseases: Use of high spatial resolution satellite imagery to map the risk of occurrence of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Ghardaïa, Algeria

Tran A., Guis H., Baldet T.. 2014. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 28 : p. 725-734.

DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2014.09.036

Ghardaïa, central Algeria, experienced a major outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in 2005. Two Leishmania species occur in this region: Leishmania major (MON-25) and Leishmania killicki (MON-301). The two species are transmitted respectively by the sandflies Phlebotomus papatasi and Phlebotomus sergenti and probably involve rodent reservoirs with different ecologies, suggesting distinct epidemiological patterns and distribution areas. The aims of this study were to establish risk maps for each Leishmania species in Ghardaïa, taking into account the specificities of their vectors and reservoirs biotopes, using land cover and topographical characteristics derived from remote sensing imagery. Using expert and bibliographic knowledge, habitats of vectors and reservoirs were mapped. Hazard maps, defined as areas of presence of both vectors and reservoirs, were then combined with vulnerability maps, defined as areas with human presence, to map the risk of CL occurrence due to each species. The vector habitat maps and risk maps were validated using available entomological data and epidemiological data. The results showed that remote sensing analysis can be used to map and differentiate risk areas for the two species causing CL and identify palm groves and areas bordering the river crossing the city as areas at risk of CL due to L. major, whereas more limited rocky hills on the outskirts of the city are identified as areas at risk of CL due to L. killicki. In the current context of urban development in Ghardaïa, this study provides useful information for the local authorities on the respective risk areas for CL caused by both parasites, in order to take prevention and control measures to prevent future CL outbreaks.

Mots-clés : leishmania; analyse du risque; système d'information géographique; télédétection; imagerie par satellite; vecteur de maladie; cartographie; couverture végétale; paysage; zone urbaine; surveillance épidémiologique; technique de prévision; image spot; maladie transmise par vecteur; algérie; leishmania major; leishmania killicki

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