Spatial distribution of 12 class B notifiable infectious diseases in China : A retrospective study

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0195568
Journal / PublicationPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2018



China is the largest developing country with a relatively developed public health system. To further prevent and eliminate the spread of infectious diseases, China has listed 39 notifiable infectious diseases characterized by wide prevalence or great harm, and classified them into classes A, B, and C, with severity decreasing across classes. Class A diseases have been almost eradicated in China, thus making class B diseases a priority in infectious disease prevention and control. In this retrospective study, we analyze the spatial distribution patterns of 12 class B notifiable infectious diseases that remain active all over China. 
Methods Global and local Moran’s I and corresponding graphic tools are adopted to explore and visualize the global and local spatial distribution of the incidence of the selected epidemics, respectively. Inter-correlations of clustering patterns of each pair of diseases and a cumulative summary of the high/low cluster frequency of the provincial units are also provided by means of figures and maps. 
Results Of the 12 most commonly notifiable class B infectious diseases, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis show high incidence rates and account for more than half of the reported cases. Almost all the diseases, except pertussis, exhibit positive spatial autocorrelation at the provincial level. All diseases feature varying spatial concentrations. Nevertheless, associations exist between spatial distribution patterns, with some provincial units displaying the same type of cluster features for two or more infectious diseases. Overall, high–low (unit with high incidence surrounded by units with high incidence, the same below) and high–high spatial cluster areas tend to be prevalent in the provincial units located in western and southwest China, whereas low–low and low–high spatial cluster areas abound in provincial units in north and east China. 
Conclusion Despite the various distribution patterns of 12 class B notifiable infectious diseases, certain similarities between their spatial distributions are present. Substantial evidence is available to support disease-specific, location-specific, and disease-combined interventions. Regarding provinces that show high–high/high–low patterns of multiple diseases, comprehensive interventions targeting different diseases should be established. As to the adjacent provincial units revealing similar patterns, coordinated actions need to be taken across borders.

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