Integrated surveillance: Joint modeling of rodent and human tularemia cases in Finland


An increasing number of geo-coded information streams are available with possible use in disease surveillance applications. In this setting, multivariate modeling of health and non-health data allows assessment of concurrent patterns among data streams and conditioning on one another. Therefore it is appropriate to consider the analysis of their spatial distributions together. Specifically for vector-borne diseases, knowledge of spatial and temporal patterns of vector distribution could inform incidence in humans. Tularemia is an infectious disease endemic in North America and parts of Europe. In Finland tularemia is typically mosquito-transmitted with rodents serving as a host; however, a country-wide understanding of the relationship between rodents and the disease in humans is still lacking. We propose a methodology to help understand the association between human tularemia incidence and rodent population levels. 


We seek to integrate multiple streams of geo-coded information with the aim to improve public health surveillance accuracy and efficiency. Specifically for vector-borne diseases, knowledge of spatial and temporal patterns of vector distribution can help early prediction of human incidence. To this end, we develop joint modeling approaches to evaluate the contribution of vector or reservoir information on early prediction of human cases. A case study of spatiotemporal modeling of tularemia human incidence and rodent population data from Finnish health care districts during the period 1995-2013 is provided. Results suggest that spatial and temporal information of rodent abundance is useful in predicting human cases. 


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December, 2016

July 07, 2017

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