Bayesian spatiotemporal modeling with sliding windows to correct reporting delays for real-time dengue surveillance in Thailand
Rotejanaprasert C., Ekapirat N., Areechokchai D., Maude RJ.
Abstract Background The ability to produce timely and accurate estimation of dengue cases can significantly impact disease control programs. A key challenge for dengue control in Thailand is the systematic delay in reporting at different levels in the surveillance system. Efficient and reliable surveillance and notification systems are vital to monitor health outcome trends and early detection of disease outbreaks which vary in space and time. Methods Predicting the trend in dengue cases in real-time is a challenging task in Thailand due to a combination of factors including reporting delays. We present decision support using a spatiotemporal nowcasting model which accounts for reporting delays in a Bayesian framework with sliding windows. A case study is presented to demonstrate the proposed nowcasting method using weekly dengue surveillance data in Bangkok at district level in 2010. Results The overall real-time estimation accuracy was 70.69% with 59.05% and 79.59% accuracy during low and high seasons averaged across all weeks and districts. The results suggest the model was able to give a reasonable estimate of the true numbers of cases in the presence of delayed reports in the surveillance system. With sliding windows, models could also produce similar accuracy to estimation with the whole data. Conclusions A persistent challenge for the statistical and epidemiological communities is to transform data into evidence-based knowledge that facilitates policy making about health improvements and disease control at the individual and population levels. Improving real-time estimation of infectious disease incidence is an important technical development. The effort in this work provides a template for nowcasting in practice to inform decision making for dengue control.