Tatem AJ, Huang Z, Das A, Qi Q, Roth J, et al.
Air travel and vector-borne disease movement
SUMMARYRecent decades have seen substantial expansions in the global air travel network and rapid increases in traffic volumes. The effects of this are well studied in terms of the spread of directly transmitted infections, but the role of air travel in the movement of vector-borne diseases is less well understood. Increasingly however, wider reaching surveillance for vector-borne diseases and our improving abilities to map the distributions of vectors and the diseases they carry, are providing opportunities to better our understanding of the impact of increasing air travel. Here we examine global trends in the continued expansion of air transport and its impact upon epidemiology. Novel malaria and chikungunya examples are presented, detailing how geospatial data in combination with information on air traffic can be used to predict the risks of vector-borne disease importation and establishment. Finally, we describe the development of an online tool, the Vector-Borne Disease Airline Importation Risk (VBD-Air) tool, which brings together spatial data on air traffic and vector-borne disease distributions to quantify the seasonally changing risks for importation to non-endemic regions. Such a framework provides the first steps towards an ultimate goal of adaptive management based on near real time flight data and vector-borne disease surveillance.