Quantifying geographic accessibility to improve efficiency of entomological monitoring

Longbottom, J. and Krause, A. and Torr, S.J. and Stanton, M.C. (2020) Quantifying geographic accessibility to improve efficiency of entomological monitoring. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 14 (3). ISSN 1935-2727

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BACKGROUND: Vector-borne diseases are important causes of mortality and morbidity in humans and livestock, particularly for poorer communities and countries in the tropics. Large-scale programs against these diseases, for example malaria, dengue and African trypanosomiasis, include vector control, and assessing the impact of this intervention requires frequent and extensive monitoring of disease vector abundance. Such monitoring can be expensive, especially in the later stages of a successful program where numbers of vectors and cases are low. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We developed a system that allows the identification of monitoring sites where pre-intervention densities of vectors are predicted to be high, and travel cost to sites is low, highlighting the most efficient locations for longitudinal monitoring. Using remotely sensed imagery and an image classification algorithm, we mapped landscape resistance associated with on- and off-road travel for every gridded location (3m and 0.5m grid cells) within Koboko district, Uganda. We combine the accessibility surface with pre-existing estimates of tsetse abundance and propose a stratified sampling approach to determine the most efficient locations for longitudinal data collection. Our modelled predictions were validated against empirical measurements of travel-time and existing maps of road networks. We applied this approach in northern Uganda where a large-scale vector control program is being implemented to control human African trypanosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) caused by trypanosomes transmitted by tsetse flies. Our accessibility surfaces indicate a high performance when compared to empirical data, with remote sensing identifying a further ~70% of roads than existing networks. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: By integrating such estimates with predictions of tsetse abundance, we propose a methodology to determine the optimal placement of sentinel monitoring sites for evaluating control programme efficacy, moving from a nuanced, ad-hoc approach incorporating intuition, knowledge of vector ecology and local knowledge of geographic accessibility, to a reproducible, quantifiable one.

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Journal Article
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PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
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Deposited On:
22 Apr 2020 08:44
Last Modified:
12 Jan 2021 13:42