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Driving preparedness and anticipatory actions through innovation: A web-based Rift Valley fever Early Warning Decision Support Tool (July 2021)

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed a web-based Rift Valley fever (RVF) Early Warning Decision Support Tool (RVF DST), which integrates near real-time RVF risk maps with geospatial data, RVF historical and current disease events from EMPRES Global Animal Disease Information System (EMPRES-i) and expert knowledge on RVF eco-epidemiology. The tool is used to build capacity for early warning and forecasting at country level, and demonstrates how near real-time modelling, risk forecasting and digital innovation can enhance preparedness and anticipatory actions.

Combining comprehensive data and expertise

The RVF DST brings together a wealth of relevant data for monitoring climate variability and other RVF risk factors, including:

• observed and forecasted precipitation and anomalies;

• Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and anomalies;

• land surface temperature;

• El Niño forecasts;

• estimates and geographic distribution of susceptible, at-risk livestock species;

• past and current RVF occurrences;

• human populations;

• market places;

• road networks;

• animal trade routes;

• water bodies and irrigation areas;

• land cover; and

• soil.

In addition, the tool offers expert knowledge on RVF eco-epidemiology (such as the FAO–International Livestock Research Institute Decision Support Framework), risk assessment and categorization, analytical functions and charts of trends in major risk factors, as well as recommended actions to guide appropriate responses to RVF at country level. An automated risk analysis report with charts of major risk factors, estimated animals at risk and risk maps can be downloaded.