Dorothea Manou

Modeling and Investigating the correlation between explanatory variables and the spread of Zika virus in Brazil, South America

Datum, tid och plats: Fredag den 24/3, kl 9.15, i Y21
Handledare: Karin Ebert
Examinator: Johan Kleman
Masterprogram i geomatik med fjärranalys och GIS
Examensarbete i naturgeografi och kvartärgeologi, 45 hp

Presentationsspråk: English


Zika virus (ZIKV) was discovered in the late 1940s and outbreaks of the disease were recorded in different parts of the world mostly in the 2000s. However, it was not until 2015 that a massive outbreak began in Brazil and sparked not only public health concern within the country, but also attracted global attention due to its rapid geographical spread. Since that spring, Brazil has been in a continuous struggle against ZIKV and its spread, which has been associated with microcephaly in infants and Guillain-Barre syndrome. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) have joined their forces with Brazilian health authorities in an effort to control this outbreak and minimize the effects.
 ZIKV is transmitted by Aedes Aegypti mosquito; a vector commonly found in most tropically diseases such as dengue and chikungunya viruses. Few studies have recently been conducted to record vector occurrences and comprehend what factors contribute to its transmission and its ovipositional habitat and breeding suitability. This understanding can be used to predict current and future limits to a further expansion, and are considered to be significant and mandatory concerning its fight against the virus. The use of GIS and Remote sensing techniques can prove useful and effective tools offering answers both to scientists and concerned inhabitants of areas under threat. This project is an attempt to model the correlation between a set of environmental, topographical and anthropogenic variables found within the Brazilian territory and the distribution of Aedes Aegypti. Mapping the distribution of the vector and the geographical determinants of its range is considered essential for public health planning. As such, Aedes Aegypti recorded occurrences data were paired with explanatory covariates to predict transmission suitability patterns within Brazil. The influence these factors have over the vector and hence the suitable environmental conditions provided for ZIKV spread, was estimated to encompass areas within the country that over 120 million people live at ZIKV transmission risk zones.