The Science of the total environment | 14 May 2017
M Sanna and YH Hsieh
Urbanization is an important factor contributing to the global spread of dengue in recent decades, especially in tropical regions. However, the impact of public transportation system on local spread of dengue in urban settings remains poorly understood, due to the difficulty in collecting relevant locality, transportation and disease incidence data with sufficient detail, and in suitably quantifying the combined effect of proximity and passenger flow. We quantify proximity and passenger traffic data relating to 2014-2015 dengue outbreaks in Kaohsiung, Taiwan by introducing a “Risk Associated with Metro Passengers Presence” (RAMPP), which considers the passenger traffic of stations located within a fixed radius, giving more weight to the busier and/or closer stations. In order to analyze the contagion risk associated with nearby presence of one or more Kaohsiung Rapid Transit (KRT) stations, we cluster the Li’s (the fourth level administrative subdivision in Taiwan) of Kaohsiung based on their RAMPP value using the K-means algorithm. We then perform analysis of variance on distinct clusterings and detect significant differences for both years. The subsequent post hoc tests (Dunn) show that yearly incidence rate observed in the areas with highest RAMPP values is always significantly greater than that recorded with smaller RAMPP values. RAMPP takes into account of population mobility in urban settings via the use of passenger traffic information of urban transportation system, that captures the simple but important idea that large amount of passenger flow in and out of a station can dramatically increase the contagion risk of dengue in the neighborhood. Our study provides a new perspective in identifying high-risk areas for transmissions and thus enhances our understanding of how public rapid transit system contributes to disease spread in densely populated urban areas, which could be useful in the design of more effective and timely intervention and control measures for future outbreaks.
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