Document Type: Original Article(s)
College of Health Sciences, Liberty University, USA
Background: Dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses are emerging infectious disease threats wherever suitable vectors, hosts, and habitat are present. The aim of the present study was to use the bioagent transport and environmental modeling system (BioTEMS) to identify the potential for arbovirus-infected Aedes species to invade the Chabahar area in southeastern Iran. Methods: ArcGIS geospatial analysis software, Statistica software, and BioTEMS were used to analyze geographic information and conduct data analysis. BioTEMS utilizes up to several hundred abiotic and biotic factors to produce risk and vulnerability assessments for biological agents and infectious diseases. The output of BioTEMS was validated using published predictive models, and most importantly published collection data of Aedes species in Iran.Results: There appears to have been two separate invasion events by Ae. albopictus into the southern region of Iran, first preceding 2009 and then again in 2013. BioTEMS identified two probable areas of introduction during the 2009 time frame, either through one or both the Chabahar ports or the Iranshahr airport with subsequent spread through vehicular transport. BioTEMS identified the port as an introduction zone for ZIKAV with high-risk zones and identifies gap zones during the 2013 time frame. Recommended surveillance sites are provided.Conclusion: The air and maritime ports of Iran serve international customers, and are therefore vulnerable to import and invasion of mosquito vectors and arboviruses. Based on comparisons with other published low-resolution models, BioTEMS provides information for medical and public health professionals conducting integrated mosquito management, preventive medicine, and epidemiological surveillance.