Iracoubo is a small rural municipality located on the coastal plain of French Guiana with a population of 1,428 inhabitants. Housing areas are surrounded by rain forest, mangrove forest, and coastal wetlands. To study a 2001 dengue fever outbreak in Iracoubo, the location of all patients’ homes and the date when symptoms were first observed was recorded. A geographic information system (GIS) was used to integrate the patient-related information.
In particular, GIS and spatial statistics were useful choices for the surveillance of dengue fever because no vaccine or specific treatment is available. The only solution to prevent the disease is vector control strategy. This control strategy requires that risk areas and risk periods be identified, which is where GIS comes in. GIS was used to describe the spread of dengue viruses in a small locality.
The results show that heterogeneity in the RR variations in space and time corresponds to known entomologic and epidemiologic factors, such as the mosquito feeding cycle and host-seeking behavior. This finding demonstrates the relevance and potential of the use of GIS and spatial statistics for elaborating a dengue fever surveillance strategy.
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Melissa Lawrence, Social Marketing Administrator, VERTICES, LLC