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Spatial epidemiology in zoonotic parasitic diseases: insights gained at the 1st International Symposium on Geospatial Health in Lijiang, China, 2007

DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-2-10

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The goal of the '1st International Symposium on Geospatial Health', convened in Lijiang, Yunnan province, People's Republic of China from 8 to 9 September, 2007, was to review advances made in the control of zoonotic parasitic diseases through the use of geospatial tools. The symposium, organized by the Global Network for Geospatial Health webcite and supported by the Ministry of Health (MoH) of China, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) [1], was held in conjunction with the '7th Annual Meeting of the Regional Network for Asian Schistosomiasis and Other Zoonotic Helminthiases' (RNAS+; webcite) [2]. It attracted more than 150 participants from 19 countries/regions and international organizations and the 71 presentations, including 10 plenary sessions, dealt with intervention strategies, risk profiling, spatio-temporal modeling of parasitic disease transmission, biological investigations to further our understanding of the interaction between vectors and/or intermediate hosts with the definitive human host, as well as database management and sharing of data. Geostatistical approaches and time series analyses have been employed in schistosomiasis control in China, including random-effect modeling, transmission dynamics and Bayesian geostatistics.The symposium was essentially an initiative intended to encourage local and international scientists to share data and geospatial health applications in compatible format with special emphasis on the region represented by the site of the annual RNAS+ meeting. It had the form of an open forum where the information from different regions and diseases was freely exchanged. Results from simple cross-sectional surveys as well as advanced modeling, such as that based on random-effects, spatio-temporal studies or transmission dynamics, were presented along with Bayesian statistics a


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