Methods

Last update: 15 March 2011

EDENext is structured along the lines used to great success by the EDEN project. Therefore a set of vertical vector groups (ticks, rodents and insectivores, mosquitoes, Culicoides, and sand flies) is complemented by horizontal themes which provide integrated technical input, minimising duplication and ensuring a coordinated approach throughout the project. These ‘integration groups’ comprise three work packages: modelling, data management and public health.

The vectors which have been selected are not only arthropods, but also rodents and insectivores, which harbour a wide range of pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites) some of them infective to humans without the intervention of arthropod vectors, such as hantaviruses and Bunyaviridae.

The main arthropod vector groups of human and animal diseases in Europe are also included: hard ticks (Acari, Ixodidae), mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicicae), sand flies (Diptera, Psychodidae), and biting midges (Diptera, Ceratopogonidae). The vertical structure will allow EDENext to provide expertise and useful information regarding the prevention of human or animal infection, control measures for vector populations, and implementation of vector surveillance networks, for any new emerging VBD transmitted by vector/rodent/insectivore species belonging to these groups.

To focus the project’s objectivities and produce specific results regarding VBD in Europe, a range of relevant diseases has been selected. These diseases have been selected because they are (i) diseases with insufficient epidemiological knowledge or control measures to produce efficient intervention programmes and (ii) priority diseases for European public health activities.

Mathematical and statistical modelling are important tools for assessing, analysing and predicting the emergence and spread of VBD, and the potential impact of new and existing control and intervention methods. You can see an example below from the National Veterinary Institute of the Technical University of Denmark. A common goal for all the disease systems under study will be to develop predictive quantitative models of vector-population dynamics or disease transmission and spread. For this, the project is drawing on the datasets, experience and capacity gained in the EDEN project. An important step will be to model vector and disease spread in the context of environments changing in terms of time and space. Mathematical tools have been applied to some VBD EDENext seeks to address, and methods and tools have been developed in EDEN to characterise climatic and environmental changes, including landscapes at various resolution scales. Furthermore, progress has been made to integrate environmental, landscape and mathematical approaches to explain disease spread and this integration will be developed further within EDENext.

Bluetongue virus spread to Scandinavia for the first time in 2008. Below you can see models for the number of days with potentially infectious midges, starting in 2008 (not a particularly warm year) below left and looking forward some 30 and 50 years. You can find many more examples at www.nordrisk.dk .
Copyright: DTU Veterinary
Copyright: DTU Veterinary
Copyright: DTU Veterinary
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Data management has been a key strength of EDEN, providing data and related services to a broad network of partners involved in specific research tasks. This will be improved under EDENext, which will have a wider remit and seek collaborations with other European Union funded projects and networks. There is a particular focus on host distribution mapping and wind spread models.

Finally, the public health integration group  aims to assist agencies, stakeholders and decision makers in fulfilling their duties both before and when an epidemic or epizootic begins. The focus is on elucidating the public health aspects of the research results, to find methods and modes to distribute this information to governmental and non-governmental bodies and to provide advice to these groups in setting up the most effective counter measures. The group will concentrate on two model diseases selected for their importance: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in south-eastern Europe and haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Fennoscandia, Belgium, northern France, Luxembourg and Germany.

Last update: 15 March 2011

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