Thanks to Spatial Information Technologies (SITs) such as Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) that are being quickly developed and updated, SITs are being used more widely in the public health field. The use of SITs to study the characteristics of the temporal and spatial distribution of Schistosoma japonicum
and to assess the risk of infection provides methods for the control and prevention of schistosomiasis japonica has gradually become a hot topic in the field. The purpose of the present paper was to use RS and GIS technology to develop an efficient method of prediction and assessment of the risk of schistosomiasis japonica. We choose the Yueyang region, close to the east DongTing Lake (Hunan Province, China), as the study area, where a recent serious outbreak of schistosomiasis japonica took place. We monitored and evaluated the transmission risk of schistosomiasis japonica in the region using SITs. Water distribution data were extracted from RS images. The ground temperature, ground humidity and vegetation index were calculated based on RS images. Additionally, the density of oncomelania snails, which are the Schistosoma japonicum
intermediate host, was calculated on the base of RS data and field measurements. The spatial distribution of oncomelania snails was explored using SITs in order to estimate the area surrounding the residents with transmission risk of schistosomiasis japonica. Our research result demonstrated: (1) the risk factors for the transmission of schistosomiasis japonica were closely related to the living environment of oncomelania snails. Key factors such as water distribution, ground temperature, ground humidity and vegetation index can be quickly obtained and calculated from RS images; (2) using GIS technology and a RS deduction technique along with statistical regression models, the density distribution model of oncomelania snails could be quickly built; (3) using SITs and analysis with overlaying population distribution data, the range of transmission risk of schistosomiasis japonica of the study area can be quickly monitored and evaluated. This method will help support the decision making for the control and prevention of schistosomiasis and form a valuable application using SITs for the schistosomiasis research.
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