Malaria is dependent on environmental factors and considered as potentially re-emerging in temperate regions. Remote sensing data have been used successfully for monitoring environmental conditions that influence the patterns of such arthropod vector-borne diseases. Anopheles atroparvus density data were collected from 2002 to 2005, on a bimonthly basis, at three sites in a former malarial area in Southern Portugal. The development of the Remote Vector Model (RVM) was based upon two main variables: temperature and the Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Terra satellite. Temperature influences the mosquito life cycle and affects its intra-annual prevalence, and MODIS NDVI was used as a proxy for suitable habitat conditions. Mosquito data were used for calibration and validation of the model. For areas with high mosquito density, the model validation demonstrated a Pearson correlation of 0.68 (p<0.05) and a modelling efficiency/Nash-Sutcliffe of 0.44 representing the models ability to predict intra- and inter-annual vector density trends. RVM estimates the density of the former malarial vector An. atroparvus as a function of temperature and of MODIS NDVI. RVM is a satellite data-based assimilation algorithm that uses temperature fields to predict the intra- and inter-annual densities of this mosquito species using MODIS NDVI. RVM is a relevant tool for vector density estimation, contributing to the risk assessment of transmission of mosquito-borne diseases and can be part of the early warning system and contingency plans providing support to the decision making process of relevant authorities.
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Vol. 36 • No. 2