Spatio-Temporal patterns of Barmah Forest Virus Disease in Queensland, Australia
Barmah Forest virus (BFV) disease is a common and wide-spread mosquito-borne disease in Australia. This study investigated the spatio-temporal patterns of BFV disease in Queensland, Australia using geographical information system (GIS) tools and geostatistical analysis.
We calculated the incidence rates and standardised incidence rates of BFV disease. Moran's I statistic was used to assess the spatial autocorrelation of BFV incidences. Spatial dynamics of BFV disease was examined using semi-variogram analysis. Interpolation techniques were applied to visualise and display the spatial distribution of BFV disease in statistical local areas (SLAs) throughout Queensland. Mapping of BFV disease by SLAs reveals the presence of substantial spatio-temporal variation over time. Statistically significant differences in BFV incidence rates were identified among age groups (χ2 = 7587, df = 7327,p<0.01). There was a significant positive spatial autocorrelation of BFV incidence for all four periods, with the Moran's I statistic ranging from 0.1506 to 0.2901 (p<0.01). Semi-variogram analysis and smoothed maps created from interpolation techniques indicate that the pattern of spatial autocorrelation was not homogeneous across the state.
This is the first study to examine spatial and temporal variation in the incidence rates of BFV disease across Queensland using GIS and geostatistics. The BFV transmission varied with age and gender, which may be due to exposure rates or behavioural risk factors. There are differences in the spatio-temporal patterns of BFV disease which may be related to local socio-ecological and environmental factors. These research findings may have implications in the BFV disease control and prevention programs in Queensland.
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