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Open Access Research

Natural-focal diseases: mapping experience in Russia

Svetlana M Malkhazova1, Varvara A Mironova1, Tatiana V Kotova2, Natalia V Shartova3 and Dmitry S Orlov1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biogeography, Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, GSP-1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow 119991, Russian Federation

2 Scientific Laboratory of Complex Mapping, Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, GSP-1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow 119991, Russian Federation

3 Department of Landscape Geochemistry and Soil Geography, Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, GSP-1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow 119991, Russian Federation

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International Journal of Health Geographics 2014, 13:21  doi:10.1186/1476-072X-13-21

Published: 14 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Natural-focal diseases constitute a serious hazard for human health. Agents and vectors of such diseases belong to natural landscapes. The aim of this study is to identify the diversity and geography of natural-focal diseases in Russia and to develop cartographic approaches for their mapping, including mathematical-cartographical modeling. Russian medico-geographical mapping of natural-focal diseases is highly developed regionally and locally but extremely limited at the national level. To solve this problem, a scientific team of the Faculty of Geography at Lomonosov Moscow State University has developed and implemented a project of a medico-geographical Atlas of Russia “Natural-Focal Diseases”.

Methods

The mapping is based on medical statistics data. The Atlas contains a series of maps on disease incidence, long-term dynamics of disease morbidity, etc. In addition, other materials available to the authors were used: mapping of the natural environment, field data, archival materials, analyzed satellite images, etc. The maps are processed using ArcGIS (ESRI) software application. Different methods of rendering of mapped phenomena are used (geographical ranges, diagrams, choropleth maps etc.).

Results

A series of analytical, integrated, and synthetic maps shows disease incidence in the population at both the national and regional levels for the last 15 years. Maps of the mean annual morbidity of certain infections and maps of morbidity dynamics and nosological profiles allow for a detailed analysis of the situation for each of 83 administrative units of the Russian Federation. The degree of epidemic hazard in Russia by natural-focal diseases is reflected in a synthetic medico-geographical map that shows the degree of epidemic risks due to such diseases in Russia and allows one to estimate the risk of disease manifestation in a given region.

Conclusions

This is the first attempt at aggregation and public presentation of diverse and multifaceted information about natural-focal diseases in Russia. Taken in entirety, the maps that have been prepared for the Atlas will enable researchers to evaluate the stability of epidemic manifestation of individual diseases and the susceptibility of a given territory to disease transmission. The results can be used for sanitary monitoring and disease prevention.

Keywords:
Russia; Distribution and diversity of natural-focal diseases; Spatiotemporal dynamics; GIS; Medico-geographical atlas