Veerle Versteirt
“As coordinator of VectorNet, VECMAP is an essential tool to identify gaps in maps and to plan additional field surveys for a variety of vector species throughout Europe" – Veerle Versteirt, COO Avia-GIS
VectorNet Map of Aedes albopictus distribution in Europe (July 2016)
The liver fluke campaign discussed in the previous example shows that we can improve disease control by thinking about disease vectors on a broad scale. To do this, all data on a vector of interest needs to be available on a comparable basis. VBORNET and its follow-up network VectorNet put this possibility into practice. The network, run by Avia-GIS for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC, Stockholm, Sweden), now joined by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, Parma, Italy), collects Pan-European data on a variety of potential disease vectors including mosquitoes, ticks, sand flies and biting midges, from a range of sources. An example is given here of the distribution of the tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, an invasive mosquito in Europe.
VectorNet spatial model for Phlebotomus perniciosus

VectorNet integrates all available data for each relevant vector into a common format, and uses that information to train spatial models as shown here for the sand fly Phlebotomus perniciosus. This output is then used to identify gaps in coverage and plan complementary field surveys needed to cover significant gaps cost-effectively. While the entry and quality control of vector data in the ECDC databases is performed with a specific on-line tool developed by Avia-GIS, the modelling, gap analysis and fieldwork planning are achieved using VECMAP.

Many experts and organisations in Europe and beyond hold data on disease vectors. These include medical entomologists, health service providers as well as groups concerned with ecology and the environment. VectorNet helps them expand their knowledge and see the bigger picture.

These three examples show that VECMAP can help with many different aspects of vector surveillance and control. In the case of the Belgian mosquito surveys, VECMAP was used to guide the entire process of elucidating and eliminating a threat of unknown size. With liver fluke, the disease itself was already familiar, as was its vector, but the areas of greatest ecological and climate hazard were still to be established. In both cases, VECMAP was used to design a sampling strategy that would track the vector of interest through time. In contrast, the use of VECMAP with VectorNet allows surveys to be created and brought to a usable level of completeness on the basis of existing data that would otherwise have remained incompatible.

In addition, VECMAP is flexible and can take on other types of fieldwork-based projects, such as measuring biodiversity or the spread of other invasive species. More uses are likely to arise in future years.