MosquitoMap and the Mal-area calculator: new web tools to relate mosquito species distribution with vector borne disease
Background: Mosquitoes are important vectors of diseases but, in spite of various mosquito faunistic surveys globally, there is a need for a spatial online database of mosquito collection data and distribution summaries. Such a resource could provide entomologists with the results of previous mosquito surveys, and vector disease control workers, preventative medicine practitioners, and health planners with information relating mosquito distribution to vector-borne disease risk. Results: A web application called MosquitoMap was constructed comprising mosquito collection point data stored in an ArcGIS 9.3 Server/SQL geodatabase that includes administrative area and vector species x country lookup tables. In addition to the layer containing mosquito collection points, other map layers were made available including environmental, and vector and pathogen/disease distribution layers. An application within MosquitoMap called the Mal-area calculator (MAC) was constructed to quantify the area of overlap, for any area of interest, of vector, human, and disease distribution models. Data standards for mosquito records were developed for MosquitoMap. Conclusion: MosquitoMap is a public domain web resource that maps and compares georeferenced mosquito collection points to other spatial information, in a geographical information system setting. The MAC quantifies the Mal-area, i.e. the area where it is theoretically possible for vector-borne disease transmission to occur, thus providing a useful decision tool where other disease information is limited. The Mal-area approach emphasizes the independent but cumulative contribution to disease risk of the vector species predicted present. MosquitoMap adds value to, and makes accessible, the results of past collecting efforts, as well as providing a template for other arthropod spatial databases.