Bayesian spatial modelling and the significance of agricultural land use to scrub typhus infection in Taiwan

Wardrop, Nicola A., Kuo, Chi-Chien, Wang, Hsi-Chieh, Clements, Archie C. A., Lee, Pei-Fen and Atkinson, Peter M. (2013) Bayesian spatial modelling and the significance of agricultural land use to scrub typhus infection in Taiwan. Geospatial Health, 8 1: 229-239. doi:10.4081/gh.2013.69

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Author Wardrop, Nicola A.
Kuo, Chi-Chien
Wang, Hsi-Chieh
Clements, Archie C. A.
Lee, Pei-Fen
Atkinson, Peter M.
Title Bayesian spatial modelling and the significance of agricultural land use to scrub typhus infection in Taiwan
Journal name Geospatial Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1827-1987
Publication date 2013-11-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.4081/gh.2013.69
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 1
Start page 229
End page 239
Total pages 11
Place of publication Naples, Italy
Publisher Universita degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II" * Facolta di Medicina Veterinaria
Language eng
Abstract Scrub typhus is transmitted by the larval stage of trombiculid mites. Environmental factors, including land cover and land use, are known to influence breeding and survival of trombiculid mites and, thus, also the spatial heterogeneity of scrub typhus risk. Here, a spatially autoregressive modelling framework was applied to scrub typhus incidence data from Taiwan, covering the period 2003 to 2011, to provide increased understanding of the spatial pattern of scrub typhus risk and the environmental and socioeconomic factors contributing to this pattern. A clear spatial pattern in scrub typhus incidence was observed within Taiwan, and incidence was found to be significantly correlated with several land cover classes, temperature, elevation, normalized difference vegetation index, rainfall, population density, average income and the proportion of the population that work in agriculture. The final multivariate regression model included statistically significant correlations between scrub typhus incidence and average income (negatively correlated), the proportion of land that contained mosaics of cropland and vegetation (positively correlated) and elevation (positively correlated). These results highlight the importance of land cover on scrub typhus incidence: mosaics of cropland and vegetation represent a transitional land cover type which can provide favourable habitats for rodents and, therefore, trombiculid mites. In Taiwan, these transitional land cover areas tend to occur in less populated and mountainous areas, following the frontier establishment and subsequent partial abandonment of agricultural cultivation, due to demographic and socioeconomic changes. Future land use policy decision-making should ensure that potential public health outcomes, such as modified risk of scrub typhus, are considered.
Keyword Scrub typhus
Spatial epidemiology
Conditionally autoregressive model
Disease ecology
Orientia tsutsugamushi
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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