GeoVin: an innovative citizen science project to learn about Argentinian kissing bugs

Autores/as: Soledad Ceccarelli, Agustín Balsalobre, María Eugenia Cano, Walter A. O. Ferrari, Joaquín Cochero y Gerardo A. Marti

Datos del evento:
Nombre del evento: Citizen Science Association conference 2019
Fecha: Marzo de 2019
Idioma: Inglés.

Kissing bugs (triatomines) are insect involved in the vectorial transmission of the parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi) that causes Chagas disease. Chagas is an important public health issue in the Americas, furthermore, in the last two decades became to be also an important issue in European and Western Pacific regions because of the other transmission routes. Occurrence data of kissing bugs are used to obtain updated geographic maps, being useful in vectorial control actions. The aim of GeoVin project is to gather Argentinian kissing bugs geographic information through the citizen participation. In that sense, a public and free application (Android operative system) was developed to guide users in the identification of bugs findings. The process of input information starts when users register in the app, then they take photos to the bugs found and report their geolocation using the mobile phone GPS. Data (photos and geographic coordinates) sent through internet are stored in a centralized server, and then data validation is done by specialist. If the data sent by the user is valid (it is a Kissing bug), the geographic coordinates are incorporated to the maps updating the geographic distribution of each Argentinian kissing bug species. Users receive an answer of each record sent and information complementary about the historic geographic distribution, general features and high-quality photos of each Argentinian kissing bug species, as well as general information about Chagas disease. Currently, GeoVin app has geographic maps of the 16 Argentinian kissing bugs species done from bibliographic information, data provided by colleagues and data collected by Triatomine Laboratory members of the CEPAVE (Center of Parasitological and Vector Studies, CONICET-UNLP). The GeoVin app was presented to the community in May 2018 and has more than 450 registered users. Until now, most users have used the app to identify if the bug found is a true kissing bug or other kind of bugs. It is expected that in the warm seasons approaching (spring-summer) both the number of records and the number of users increase and help to incorporate more records to the current geographic maps. Moreover, we hope that the use of the app promotes the greater awareness and involvement of the community on Chagas issue.

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