Forecasting Emergency Department Admissions for Pneumonia in Tropical Singapore


Pneumonia, an infection of the lung due to bacterial, viral or fungal pathogens, is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the past few decades, the threat of emerging pathogens presenting as pneumonia, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, avian influenza A(H5N1) and A(H7N9), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus has emphasised the importance of the surveillance of pneumonia and other severe respiratory infections. An unexpected increase in the number of hospital admissions for pneumonia or severe respiratory infections could be a signal of a change in the virulence of the influenza viruses or other respiratory pathogens circulating in the community, or an alert of an emerging pathogen which warrants further public health investigation. The purpose of this study was to develop a forecasting model to prospectively forecast the number of emergency department (ED) admissions due to pneumonia in Singapore, a tropical country. We hypothesise that there is complementary information between hospital-based and community-based surveillance systems. The clinical spectrum of many respiratory pathogens causing pneumonia ranges from asymptomatic or subclinical infection to severe or fatal pneumonia, and it is usually difficult to distinguish between the different pathogens in the absence of a laboratory test. Infected persons could present with varying degrees of severity of the infection, and seek treatment at different healthcare facilities. Hospital-based surveillance captures the more severe manifestation of the infection while community-based surveillance captures the less severe manifestation of the infection and enables earlier detection of the infection. Thus, the integration of information from the two surveillance systems should improve the prospective forecasting of ED admissions due to pneumonia. We also investigate if the inclusion of influenza data from the laboratory surveillance system would improve the forecasting model, since influenza circulates all-year round in Singapore and is a common aetiology for pneumonia.


To develop a forecasting model for weekly emergency department admissions due to pneumonia using information from hospital-based, community-based and laboratory-based surveillance systems.

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January, 2018

January 19, 2018

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