Remote Sensing as a Tool for Mapping Mosquito Breeding Habitats and Associated Health Risk to Assist Control Efforts and Development Plans: A Case Study in Wadi El Natroun, Egypt

J Egypt Soc Parasitol. 2004 Aug;34(2):367-82.


Limited mosquito ground surveys were combined with remote sensing and GIS technologies to identify mosquito breeding habitats in Natroun lakes area and to delineate associated health risks. Mosquito larval surveys were carried out in a small area to characterize positive breeding habitats and determine their geographic coordinates. Mosquitoes (Anopheles multicolor, Culex antennatus and Cx. theileri) were found breeding in water-flooded habitats with dense vegetation cover spatially associated to existing lakes. Chemical analysis indicated that mosquito breeding water was found to be polluted by several sources including agriculture, industrial and domestic sources. This information served as a training set to characterize the spectral signature of mosquitogenic (mosquito-producing) habitats using reflectance data of the Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor aboard Landsat 5 satellite. Following characterization of the spectral signature, satellite data were used to predict, potential mosquito breeding patches over the whole study area. Field surveys were then carried out to assess the accuracy of predicted habitats and those surveys have indicated that all checked sites were positive for mosquito larvae demonstrating an accuracy of 100%. Based on an average adult mosquito flight range of 2 km, GIS was used to create buffer zones around breeding habitats describing areas at risk from mosquito nuisance and disease transmission. The obtained results could thus provide a new basis for directing the control of mosquito vectors as they provide health authorities with precise maps of mosquito breeding habitats in a timely manner. Moreover, the generated map delineating risk areas could be used by project developers to either re-site the project or invest in mosquito control activities in order to avoid health risks and ensure sustainability of their development. The approach adopted in this investigation demonstrated the practical and successful application of remote sensing and GIS in assisting health and development decision making.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / growth & development*
  • Culex / growth & development*
  • Ecosystem
  • Egypt
  • Fresh Water
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Insect Control / methods*
  • Insect Vectors / growth & development*
  • Public Health
  • Satellite Communications