Perspectives on applied spatial analysis to animal health: a case of rodents in Thailand

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Oct:1081:17-29. doi: 10.1196/annals.1373.002.


Geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing have been increasingly used in ecology and epidemiology, providing a spatial approach for animal health issues. Recent development of earth environmental satellites--i.e., their growing number, improving sensor resolutions and capabilities--has offered new opportunities to delineate possible habitats and understand animals and associated parasites in their environment, by identifying the nature and structure of land use, hydrological network, soil hydromorphy, and human settlements. Integrated into GIS, remotely sensed and other geo-referenced data allow both spatial and temporal analyses of animal ecology and health. However, a review of their applications has showed the poor quality of data sources and processing used, revealing limitations between theory and practical implementations. As an example, the assessment of the expected distribution of Bandicoot rats, main agricultural pest and vector of zoonoses in Phrae province (North Thailand), illustrates a rational use of spatial analysis, with the choice of relevant data, scales, and processing. Vegetation indices are computed on a TERRA ASTER image and further classified using elevation data. The biotopes of Bandicota indica and Bandicota savilei are delimited, providing a major source of knowledge for rodent and human health analyses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Murinae*
  • Rodent Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Rodent Diseases / transmission
  • Satellite Communications* / instrumentation
  • Sentinel Surveillance / veterinary*
  • Thailand / epidemiology
  • Topography, Medical
  • Zoonoses