METHODS: An agent-based model (ABM) is a relatively new approach that provides a framework for analyzing the heterogeneity of the interactions, along with biological and environmental factors in such complex systems. The objective of this research is to design and develop an ABM that uses Geospatial Information System (GIS) capabilities, biological behaviors of vectors and reservoir hosts, and an improved Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Recovered (SEIR) epidemic model to explore the spread of ZCL. Various scenarios were implemented to analyze the future ZCL spreads in different parts of Maraveh Tappeh County, in the northeast region of Golestan Province in northeastern Iran, with alternative socio-ecological conditions.
RESULTS: The results confirmed that the spread of the disease arises principally in the desert, low altitude areas, and riverside population centers. The outcomes also showed that the restricting movement of humans reduces the severity of the transmission. Moreover, the spread of ZCL has a particular temporal pattern, since the most prevalent cases occurred in the fall. The evaluation test also showed the similarity between the results and the reported spatiotemporal trends.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the capability and efficiency of ABM to model and predict the spread of ZCL. The results of the presented approach can be considered as a guide for public health management and controlling the vector population .
METHODS: All enterovirus cases in Taiwan over almost ten years from three main databases, including national notifiable diseases surveillance, sentinel physician surveillance and laboratory surveillance programs from July 1, 1999 to December 31, 2008 were analyzed. The Pearson's correlation coefficient was applied for measuring the consistency of the trends in the cases between different surveillance systems. Cross correlation analysis in a time series model was applied for examining the capability to predict severe enterovirus infections. Poisson temporal, spatial and space-time scan statistics were used for identifying the most likely clusters of severe enterovirus outbreaks. The directional distribution method with two standard deviations of ellipse was applied to measure the size and the movement of the epidemic.
RESULTS: The secular trend showed that the number of severe EV cases peaked in 2008, and the number of mild EV cases was significantly correlated with that of severe ones occurring in the same week [r = 0.553, p spatio-temporal clusters in June 2008, the mild cases had begun to rise since May 2008, and the outbreak spread from south to north.
CONCLUSIONS: Local public health professionals can monitor the temporal and spatial trends plus spatio-temporal clusters and isolation rate of EV-71 in mild and severe EV cases in a community when virus transmission is high, to provide early warning signals and to prevent subsequent severe epidemics.