CNES teleepidemiology conceptual approach

In the context of climate change and the rapidly increasing population, some epidemics are emerging or re-emerging.

The French Spatial Agency (CNES) has thus developed a concept based on a deterministic approach of the relations climate-environment-health and on an original and really adapted space offer (Lacaux et al., 2007 ; CNES, 2008).

This approach is mainly based upon the study of the key mechanisms and processes linking disciplines: environmental sciences, entomology, ornithology, microbiology…

The analysis of those processes is a key step in the development of new and original risk mapping using space technology. This integrated and multidisciplinary approach of tele-epidemiology includes three steps:

  • (1) Experimental design mainly field studies: It aims by monitoring and assembling multidisciplinary in-situ datasets to extract and identify physical and biological mechanisms at stake and so to identify the main confounding factors.
  • (2) Obtaining well adapted products from Space: It consists in remote-sensing monitoring of environment, linking epidemics with the confounding factors (such as rainfall, vegetation, hydrology, and population dynamics) identified in the first step in order to obtain well adapted space products.
  • (3) Dedicating modelling: The third step is dedicated to modelling in order to obtain an operational Early Warning System (EWS). It consists in using of bio-mathematical models for epidemic dynamics, vector aggressiveness and associated risks to be included into the EWS.

In most projects, the interactions between climatic and environmental variables associated with epidemics are evaluated from space, and combined with in situ data.. This new conceptual approach is meant to contribute to the implementation of operational early warning system based on environmental risks linked to climatic and environmental changing conditions: natural and anthropogenic. In a climate change context, this approach is also to be applied to many diseases and places worldwide.