Sofia Cunha

Publications

1 Ports and Airports: Gateways to Vector-Borne Diseases in Portugal Mainland

Authors: Maria C. Proença, Maria T. Rebelo, Maria J. Alves, Sofia Cunha

Abstract:

Vector-borne diseases are transmitted to humans by mosquitos, sandflies, bugs, ticks, and other vectors. Some are re-transmitted between vectors, if the infected human has a new contact when his levels of infection are high. The vector is infected for lifetime and can transmit infectious diseases not only between humans but also from animals to humans. Some vector borne diseases are very disabling and globally account for more than one million deaths worldwide. The mosquitoes from the complex Culex pipiens sl. are the most abundant in Portugal, and we dispose in this moment of a data set from the surveillance program that has been carried on since 2006 across the country. All mosquitos’ species are included, but the large coverage of Culex pipiens sl. and its importance for public health make this vector an interesting candidate to assess risk of disease amplification. This work focus on ports and airports identified as key areas of high density of vectors. Mosquitoes being ectothermic organisms, the main factor for vector survival and pathogen development is temperature. Minima and maxima local air temperatures for each area of interest are averaged by month from data gathered on a daily basis at the national network of meteorological stations, and interpolated in a geographic information system (GIS). The range of temperatures ideal for several pathogens are known and this work shows how to use it with the meteorological data in each port and airport facility, to focus an efficient implementation of countermeasures and reduce simultaneously risk transmission and mitigation costs. The results show an increased alert with decreasing latitude, which corresponds to higher minimum and maximum temperatures and a lower amplitude range of the daily temperature.

Keywords: Risk management, Vector-borne diseases, Human Health, Risk Assessment

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Abstracts

2 Ports and Airports: Gateways to Vector-Borne Diseases in Portugal Mainland

Authors: Maria C. Proença, Maria T. Rebelo, Maria J. Alves, Sofia Cunha

Abstract:

Vector-borne diseases are transmitted to humans by mosquitos, sandflies, bugs, ticks, and other vectors. Some are re-transmitted between vectors, if the infected human has a new contact when his levels of infection are high. The vector is infected for lifetime and can transmit infectious diseases not only between humans but also from animals to humans. Some vector borne diseases are very disabling and globally account for more than one million deaths worldwide. The mosquitoes from the complex Culex pipiens sl. are the most abundant in Portugal, and we dispose in this moment of a data set from the surveillance program that has been carried on since 2006 across the country. All mosquitos’ species are included, but the large coverage of Culex pipiens sl. and its importance for public health make this vector an interesting candidate to assess risk of disease amplification. This work focus on ports and airports identified as key areas of high density of vectors. Mosquitoes being ectothermic organisms, the main factor for vector survival and pathogen development is temperature. Minima and maxima local air temperatures for each area of interest are averaged by month from data gathered on a daily basis at the national network of meteorological stations, and interpolated in a geographic information system (GIS). The range of temperatures ideal for several pathogens are known and this work shows how to use it with the meteorological data in each port and airport facility, to focus an efficient implementation of countermeasures and reduce simultaneously risk transmission and mitigation costs. The results show an increased alert with decreasing latitude, which corresponds to higher minimum and maximum temperatures and a lower amplitude range of the daily temperature.

Keywords: Risk management, Vector-borne diseases, Human Health, Risk Assessment

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1 The Culex Pipiens Niche: Assessment with Climatic and Physiographic Variables via a Geographic Information System

Authors: Maria C. Proença, Maria T. Rebelo, Maria J. Alves, Sofia Cunha, Marília Antunes, Hugo Osório, João Casaca

Abstract:

Using a geographic information system (GIS), the relations between a georeferenced data set of Culex pipiens sl. mosquitoes collected in Portugal mainland during seven years (2006-2012) and meteorological and physiographic parameters such as: air relative humidity, air temperature (minima, maxima and mean daily temperatures), daily total rainfall, altitude, land use/land cover and proximity to water bodies are evaluated. Focus is on the mosquito females; the characterization of its habitat is the key for the planning of chirurgical non-aggressive prophylactic countermeasures to avoid ambient degradation. The GIS allow for the spatial determination of the zones were the mosquito mean captures has been above average; using the meteorological values at these coordinates, the limits of each parameter are identified/computed. The meteorological parameters measured at the net of weather stations all over the country are averaged by month and interpolated to produce raster maps that can be segmented according to the thresholds obtained for each parameter. The intersection of the maps obtained for each month show the evolution of the area favorable to the species through the mosquito season, which is from May to October at these latitudes. In parallel, mean and above average captures were related to the physiographic parameters. Three levels of risk could be identified for each parameter, using above average captures as an index. The results were applied to the suitability meteorological maps of each month. The Culex pipiens critical niche is delimited, reflecting the critical areas and the level of risk for transmission of the pathogens to which they are competent vectors (West Nile virus, iridoviruses, rheoviruses and parvoviruses).

Keywords: Risk management, Risk Assessment, Culex pipiens, ecological niche

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