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EcoHealth

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 591–602 | Cite as

Multi-criteria Decision Analysis to Model Ixodes ricinus Habitat Suitability

  • Raphaël RousseauEmail author
  • Guy McGrath
  • Barry J. McMahon
  • Sophie O. Vanwambeke
Original Contribution

Abstract

Tick-borne diseases present a major threat to both human and livestock health throughout Europe. The risk of infection is directly related to the presence of its vector. Thereby it is important to know their distribution, which is strongly associated with environmental factors: the presence and availability of a suitable habitat, of a suitable climate and of hosts. The present study models the habitat suitability for Ixodes ricinus in Ireland, where data on tick distribution are scarce. Tick habitat suitability was estimated at a coarse scale (10 km) with a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) method according to four different scenarios (depending on the variables used and on the weights granted to each of them). The western part of Ireland and the Wicklow mountains in the East were estimated to be the most suitable areas for I. ricinus in the island. There was a good level of agreement between results from the MCDA and recorded tick presence. The different scenarios did not affect the spatial outputs substantially. The current study suggests that tick habitat suitability can be mapped accurately at a coarse scale in a data-scarce context using knowledge-based methods. It can serve as a guideline for future countrywide sampling that would help to determine local risk of tick presence and refining knowledge on tick habitat suitability in Ireland.

Keywords

multi-criteria decision analysis tick-borne disease Ixodes ricinus risk modeling environmental factors Ireland 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge prof. Jeremy Gray for his help and comments about the results of the model developed here, and its applicability in Ireland and Eva De Clercq for her help and useful comments. The authors also warmly acknowledge Kieran Kenny, Niamh Dolan and Monica Robinson, for their work in the collection of tick records in Ireland that was realized during a group assignment at the University College Dublin (UCD). Their database is presented in the supplementary material.

Supplementary material

10393_2017_1247_MOESM1_ESM.docx (55 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 55 kb)

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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphaël Rousseau
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guy McGrath
    • 2
  • Barry J. McMahon
    • 3
  • Sophie O. Vanwambeke
    • 1
  1. 1.Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research, Earth and Life InstituteUniversité catholique de Louvain (UCL)Louvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.UCD Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk AnalysisUniversity College DublinBelfield, DublinIreland
  3. 3.UCD School of Agriculture and Food ScienceUniversity College DublinBelfield, DublinIreland

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