A retrospective, space-time study of whooping cough cases reported to the Public Health Agency of Barcelona, Spain between the years 2000 and 2011 is presented. It is based on 633 individual whooping cough cases and the 2006 population census from the Spanish National Statistics Institute, stratified by age and sex at the census tract level. Cluster identification was attempted using space-time scan statistic assuming a Poisson distribution and restricting temporal extent to 7 days and spatial distance to 500 m. Statistical calculations were performed with Stata 11 and SatScan and mapping was performed with ArcGis 10.0. Only clusters showing statistical significance (P <0.05) were mapped. The most likely cluster identified included five census tracts located in three neighbourhoods in central Barcelona during the week from 17 to 23 August 2011. This cluster included five cases compared with the expected level of 0.0021 (relative risk = 2436, P <0.001). In addition, 11 secondary significant space-time clusters were detected with secondary clusters occurring at different times and localizations. Spatial statistics is felt to be useful by complementing epidemiological surveillance systems through visualizing excess in the number of cases in space and time and thus increase the possibility of identifying outbreaks not reported by the surveillance system.
Journal:Geospat Health. 2014