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Caribbean Veterinary Information System

The Epigenesis / CaribVET GIS Bulletin for Animal Health Surveillance

Starting from February 2015, a GIS Newsletter is distributed on a monthly basis amongst the members of the CaribVET network and to any person interested in learning more about geographical data, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and applications. The main topic of these newsletters will be the use of GIS for animal health surveillance. The objective is to give a beginners introduction to what a GIS is and where and when it can be used. As this is not an official GIS course, the outline is not fixed and the content can be adapted to demands posed by emerging developments.

This is expected to help anyone interested or involved in surveillance data management & analysis whether you want to refresh your skill or to get started with GIS.

Explore the contents of the GIS Bulletin

  1. Dive into the world of GIS
  2. Discover your personal style
  3. Add your own data
  4. Cartography
  5. Spatial joins
  6. Draw your polygons
  7. Working with raster data
  8. Some thoughts on queries
  9. Coordinates and projections

Ahora tambien en espagnol:

  1. Introduccion à GIS
  2. Estilo, color y gusto personal
  3. Adicion de tus propios datos
  4. Cartografia
  5. Uniones espaciales y mapeo de indicadores epidemiológicos
  6. Dibuja tus propios polígonos en un mapa
  7. Trabajar con datos en cuadrículas (raster)
  8. Algunas consideraciones sobre las consultas
  9. Coordenadas y proyecciones

The GIS bulletins have been used in an online training forum on Basic GIS and introduction to risk mapping (using Avian Influenza as a disease model). The platform is accessible to the registered members. More information or request to access to the training materials: send an E-mail to the CaribVET Secretariat.

Caribbean Veterinary Information System (C-VIS) - Georeferenced data collection tool ready for testing!

An online data collection tool has been set up using KoboToolbox, a free and open source tool. This is part of the GIS platform Caribbean Veterinary Information System.

You can check it out here. Feel free to send us feedback.

More information on the Caribbean Veterinary Information Systems, please send an e-mail to the CaribVET Secretariat

Secured Online GIS data Catalogue

Relevant geographic information of the whole Caribbean region is being collected: animal and human population data, animal health and environmental information.

All this data is stored in a dedicated GeoNetwork Platform, which is a catalog application to manage spatially referenced resources.

Data is attributed to different user groups, and access rights are granted based on this grouping. GeoNetwork provides powerful metadata editing and search functions as well as an embedded interactive web map viewer. It is currently used in numerous Spatial Data Infrastructure initiatives across the world.

Having those shapefile stored will ease development of any GIS map using GQIS - a free open source geographic information system, and publish the maps online using Lipzmap application, also free and open source.

CaribVET is compiling all those tools under a single Platform "Caribbean Veterinary Information System" that will soon be available on the CaribVET website for use of the CaribVET groups, project and member countries.



VacciCost Tool

Vaccination is one of the main control strategies against animal infectious diseases, and it has become the main tool for health authorities willing to eradicate a disease. However, implementing a massive animal vaccination campaign requires a lot of resources, both human and capital. Providing governments with a tool to help them estimate accurately the resource requirements for the effective implementation of vaccination campaigns can be useful for several reasons:

  1. It would allow an ex-ante assessment of the viability and cost-effectiveness of a massive vaccination campaign;
  2. It provides means to prepare budgets, involving not only governmental resources but also complementary financial support by international organizations;
  3. It can be used for the evaluation of different strategies, depending on the availability of resources and the duration of the vaccination program.

Within the frame of the Epigenesis project and considering the stakes related to transboundary animal diseases control and, more specifically projects of disease eradication both in Africa (Peste des Petits Ruminants) and the Caribbean (Classical Swine Fever), it was decided to develop a tool (VacciCOST) intending to help veterinary authorities to estimate the necessary resources for the planning of animal vaccination campaigns, whatever the objective: disease eradication or control.

The cost structure used in VacciCost follows the methodology proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for national comprehensive multi-year strategic plans (cMYP) for Immunization of children and have been adapted to address immunization of animal populations. It includes the following components: cost of vaccines, injection supply, personnel, transport, maintenance and overhead, training, social mobilization, and surveillance and monitoring. To estimate the delivery costs of vaccination depending on easiness of farms access and on the degree of animals dispersal in the farmthe tool takes into account the degree of accessibility to the livestock population (using World Bank’s Rural Access Index), and the predominant type of livestock production system in the country (for example, commercial versus backyard farms).

VacciCost has been designed essentially for vaccination of livestock populations and is being calibrated in the Caribbean (swine diseases) and African context (small ruminants’ disease). Its flexible design makes the tool generic and can potentially be used in a broad range of situations over different countries and disease models.

A manuscript* has been submitted for publication in a scientific journal. It is being evaluated by peer reviewers. The tool will be made available on the CaribVET and Epigenesis websites after publication. More information: please send an E-mail to the authors of the work.

Tago P., Sall B., Lancelot R., Pradel J. VacciCost - A tool to estimate the resource requirements for implementing livestock vaccination campaigns. Application to peste des petits ruminants (PPR) vaccination in Senegal. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. Submitted.


Caribbean Alert System

The Caribbean is a complex region were Caribbean countries and territories have various trade partners including the US, Canada, Europe,South and Central America, and Asia. Additionally, the Caribbean is situated along migratory birds' flyways where birds can disseminate pathogens along their routes southwards or northwards. 
This makes the Caribbean region particularly vulnerable to animal and zoonotic disease emergence and spread, especially affecting main stock breeding industries in the Caribbean.


The objective of the Alert System is to provide CaribVET with information on potential risks that priority exotic disease or new or emerging disease outbreaks worldwide represent for the region, taking into consideration real-time evolution. The aim is to help decision regionally on when to activate the network in order to prepare and prevent disease introduction.
The tool doesn’t intend to provide formal evaluation of risks which will need to be undertaken by the veterinary authority of the country, if needs be.


CaribVET aims to improve disease surveillance and enhance preparedness, early alert and early response in the Caribbean. However, the region doesn’t have a formal animal health monitoring system in place and there is no tool tailored to the Caribbean to guide regional interventions such as activation of expert groups, dissemination of recommendations, awareness materials as well as other relevant CaribVET product/information/notes and implementation of series of trainings or workshop etc. The need for such a tool has become increasingly needed both at the national and the regional level as intervention implies human and funding resources mobilization. 

Pilot tool using Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza as a disease model

Since 2015, the region is at high risk of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) strains introduction from North America, where HPAI emerged early 2015. This threat is considered important in the Caribbean, as poultry production is the most rapidly growing subsector, and some countries have the capacity to be self-sustaining in poultry meat production. Pathogens may be introduced by migratory birds or via import of infected live birds.
An alert system was created based on the new epidemic intelligence tools under development at CIRAD (Padi-Web “Plateforme pour la detection automatique de l’information sanitaire sur le web) within the frame of international health monitoring of animal diseases (VSI). PADI-web data provide the user (epidemiologists) with “real time” epidemiologic information and alerting about the events declared via the PADI-web system.
HPAI was used as a disease model as it is a major threat for the poultry industry and food security in the Caribbean region

"Risk Swine Tool" – Risk assessment tool for Swine diseases introduction (CIRAD – CreSA – CENSA – CaribVET)

Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and Teschovirus Encephalomyelitis (TE) have been identified as priority diseases for the Caribbean because of their sanitary, economic and social repercussions in affected countries, together with their high diffusion potential. After the emergence of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) in the USA in 2013 and its further dissemination to other countries in the Americas and the Dominican Republic, the Steering Committee of the Caribbean Animal Health Network (CaribVET) added PED as a new priority for the region.

A tool for risk analysis (RA) of swine diseases introduction/dissemination at national levels and applicable to the Caribbean region has been developed by CENSA and CaribVET, initially developed for CSF and TE. It has been revised and adapted in 2015 for PED within the framework of the Epigenesis Project with assistance of partners from CReSA.

The trilingual tool is a user friendly Excel Spreadsheet including the guidelines and questions for the risk assessment, is divided in three sections: 1) Release assessment of the pathogen from the affected country, 2) Exposure (dissemination) assessment of the susceptible pig population and 3) Consequence assessment of the pathogen introduction. A flexible RA tool has been designed. In section 1, the disease situation of the affected country and routes of pathogen introduction in the exposed country are considered. In section 2, the sanitary vulnerability in the exposed country is analyzed (control in external quarantine, performance of surveillance and diagnostic system, structure of the swine industry). Section 3 includes assessment of potential disease impacts in different swine production sectors. Values of scores for each criterion have been defined by an expert group for the disease being evaluated and the tool has been tested and validated in two Caribbean countries at risk.

Harmonization of sanitary risk assessment at national levels contributes to improve regional prevention and control strategies. The work has been presented at ISVEE, Mexico (see reference below). The tool is now being tested and validated with end-users in several Caribbean countries. The tool and guidelines are available upon request to the CaribVET Secretariat.

Percedo M.I., Casal J., Guitián J., Zepeda C., Góngora V., Ellis G., Frías M.T., Alba Casals A., Calvo F., Pradel J. 2015. Risk analysis tool developed to assist with decision-making on prevention of swine diseases. Application to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea in Caribbean countries. In 14th conference of the International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE), Merida, Mexico, 3-7 November 2015 (Poster)

Disease prioritization tool (CIRAD-AviaGIS-CaribVET)

Very few countries/territories in the Caribbean have formalized a list of priority diseases that is, diseases for which surveillance and/or control should be considered as a priority by the health authority. The Epidemiology working group of CaribVET developed and released in 2012 a user friendly Disease Prioritisation tool (guideline and Excel Spreadsheet with macros included) available in 3 languages (English, Spanish and French). More information on the tool on the CaribVET website, here.

The tool aims at providing animal health interested parties and decisions makers of the Caribbean with a simple tool to select and prioritize diseases methodologically, without requiring particular expertise or resources. The tool was validated in the Dominican Republic during a disease prioritization workshop and has been further applied in several countries including in Jamaica where results were used to improve their surveillance.


The detailed Jamaica experience and other feedbacks from users were used to upgrade the tool within the frame of the Epigenesis Project. Main limitations evidenced were:

  • the need to limit variations of the scoring dependent on the person by improving method of score calculation to cope with uncertainty.
  • Change the format as Excel tool was difficult to maintain in 3 languages.

Upgrade of the CaribVET tool

The new tool has been developed by AviaGIS in collaboration with the Epigroup of CaribVET. It has been developed under Window and is compatible with Mac. It is much simpler: only the necessary steps are displayed and some functionalities have been added (automatic storage of results in case of accidental deletion/closure of the tool, easy selection of diseases, button to send comments/questions …). The tool detects language settings on the computer and will display the English, French or Spanish version accordingly. Any other language will use the default English labels.

It has been presented during the 1st regional conference on animal health research and surveillance and the workplan has been established with the Epigroup during a meeting in Barbados, early July 2015. The final tool is being evaluated by end users and will be available upon request to CaribVET secretariat.


J. Pradel, G. Ellis, L. Bournez, K. Hackshaw, J. Guitian, C. Zepeda, S. Titus, MI Percedo Abreu, MT Frías Lepoureau, W. Gonzales, V. Gongora.  CaribVET Disease Prioritization Tool: a user friendly tool to list priority diseases in animal industries and countries with small economies. Application in Jamaica. 2nd International Conference on Animal Health Surveilllance. La Havana, Cuba, 7-9 May 2014. Short Oral Communication

Pradel J., Calvo F. CaribVET diseases prioritization tool – an even more user friendly tool to list priority diseases in animal industries and countries with small economies. 1st Regional conference on research and surveillance on emerging and vector-borne animal diseases:  21st April 2015, Espace Régional du Raizet, Abymes, Guadeloupe.


Entomology tools

The main gap identified in Guadeloupe when planning development of entomological research was the lack of morphological diagnostic key for mosquitoes in the French West indies, and the Caribbean in general. Similarly, some sibling species or species of the same complex will need to be differenciated by molecular tools.

One of the main ongoing activities of the medical entomologist recruited on the project is to develop a morphological dichotomic key as he collects mosquitoes accross Guadeloupe and increases his expertise and experience with the mosquitoes in the region. The tool will be finalized only once a number of verification with collection specimens have been made and also after expert opinion.

Development of molecular tools for taxonomy and for identification of blood will be undertaken during the last six month of the study.

The tools are available upon request to the medical entomologist of cirad.

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by Dr. Radut