Spatial and temporal patterns of dengue incidence in Bhutan: a Bayesian analysis.

01 Dec 2020
Tsheten T, Clements ACA, Gray DJ, Wangchuk S, Wangdi K


Dengue is an important emerging vector-borne disease in Bhutan. This study aimed to quantify the spatial and temporal patterns of dengue and their relationship to environmental factors in dengue-affected areas at the sub-district level. A multivariate zero-inflated Poisson regression model was developed using a Bayesian framework with spatial and spatiotemporal random effects modelled using a conditional autoregressive prior structure. The posterior parameters were estimated using Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation with Gibbs sampling. A total of 708 dengue cases were notified through national surveillance between January 2016 and June 2019. Individuals aged ≤14 years were found to be 53% (95% CrI: 42%, 62%) less likely to have dengue infection than those aged >14 years. Dengue cases increased by 63% (95% CrI: 49%, 77%) for a 1°C increase in maximum temperature, and decreased by 48% (95% CrI: 25%, 64%) for a one-unit increase in normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). There was significant residual spatial clustering after accounting for climate and environmental variables. The temporal trend was significantly higher than the national average in eastern sub-districts. The findings highlight the impact of climate and environmental variables on dengue transmission and suggests prioritizing high-risk areas for control strategies.