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Spatiotemporal Analysis and Predictive Modeling of Rabies in Tennessee

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DOI: 10.4236/jgis.2018.101004    544 Downloads   1,254 Views

ABSTRACT

Among viruses, Rhabdovirus, more commonly known as rabies, is largely monitored throughout landscapes because of its known risks and deadliness. While vaccination and education efforts have been enforced and apparently successful in the past decades, many questions still exist in some regions about the virus’s spread and potential. In the United States, the state of Tennessee’s Department of Health has documented rabies reports from the 1940s-2010s, but not as many spatial analyses have been performed to further map and assess rabid animals in this variable landscape. Our study proposed to create distribution and density models to give an idea of the types of locations rabid animals have consistently been found. A predictive model was also created using software that simulated landscape fragmentation and habitat connectivity, to provide further insight for potential disease spread. Our results display that Tennessee’s central region, which is a more homogenous landscape, tended to host a lot of rabid animals and maintained a rather consistent distribution throughout the years. The predictive model was simulated on a less homogenous landscape and displayed that spread potential can be affected by natural barriers. Each of these spatial results could be of service in future disease monitoring, hopefully for the benefit of wildlife and people alike.

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Hunt, N., Carroll, A. and Wilson, T.P. (2018) Spatiotemporal Analysis and Predictive Modeling of Rabies in Tennessee. Journal of Geographic Information System, 10, 89-110. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2018.101004.

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