Aedes albopictus is ranked as the most invasive mosquito species in the world. Aedes albopictus is very difficult to suppress or control due to their remarkable adaptability to various environments, close contact with humans, and reproductive biology. Although it is native to tropical and subtropical regions, is successfully adapting to cooler EU region.
Obtaining high quality field information is notoriously costly and time-consuming. These costs can significantly be reduced through combining cost-efficient sampling strategies, remote sensing and spatial modelling techniques resulting in risk maps. Such maps then serve as a basis for targeted surveillance and for risk assessments. To effectively control these disease-vectors, specialized public and private bodies implement very labour intensive and costly surveillance programs, where field trap inspections represent a major cost.
The objective of VECTRACK is to provide the first transnational and automated surveillance system, a long sought objective of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). This will be achieved with an Earth Observation (EO) Sentinel service chain to ensure continued high quality input to VECMAP (software package to map and model distribution and abundance of vectors of disease), and a ground sensor wireless trap network with new optoelectronic sensors allowing fully remote and automated counting and classification of the target mosquitoes (sex, species, age and infection potential).
The traps equipped with the VECTRACK modules, become smart traps, a novel Internet-of-Things (IoT) application. These are deployed in the field following the same IPM standard procedures used today. The traps form a low-power network capable of wirelessly communicate between each other to finally send the collected data to the Gateway. This gateway, equipped with a meteorological station, transmits the field data to a management software (using GPRS/GSM, Wi-Fi, etc.), hosted by a Cloud Server, which makes the collected processed data available. This offers the disruptive capacity of having mosquito risk maps updated in real time.
VECTRACK will enable Health Protection Agencies to comply with the Guidelines of the ECDC for the surveillance of disease-carrying and nuisance mosquitoes. This system can provide Invasive Mosquito information at regional and national scales, giving authorities a powerful tool to understand at a higher level the impacts and risks imposed by the presence of the pest. EU countries using this system can share their data at a transnational level between themselves and with the ECDC, though European interfaces like the VBORNET network.