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Spatial Risk Assessments Based on Vector-Borne Disease Epidemiologic Data: Importance of Scale for West Nile Virus Disease in Colorado

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  • Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Vector-Borne, Zoonotic and Enteric Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado; Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Communicable Disease Program, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, Colorado

We used epidemiologic data for human West Nile virus (WNV) disease in Colorado from 2003 and 2007 to determine 1) the degree to which estimates of vector-borne disease occurrence is influenced by spatial scale of data aggregation (county versus census tract), and 2) the extent of concordance between spatial risk patterns based on case counts versus incidence. Statistical analyses showed that county, compared with census tract, accounted for approximately 50% of the overall variance in WNV disease incidence, and approximately 33% for the subset of cases classified as West Nile neuroinvasive disease. These findings indicate that sub-county scale presentation provides valuable risk information for stakeholders. There was high concordance between spatial patterns of WNV disease incidence and case counts for census tract (83%) but not for county (50%) or zip code (31%). We discuss how these findings impact on practices to develop spatial epidemiologic data for vector-borne diseases and present data to stakeholders.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Lars Eisen, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado CO 80522. E-mail: lars.eisen@colostate.edu

Financial support: The study was funded, in part, by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (T01/CCT822307) and a contract from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (N01-AI-25489).

Authors' addresses: Anna M. Winters, Rebecca J. Eisen, Mark J. Delorey, Marc Fischer, Roger S. Nasci, and Emily Zielinski-Gutierrez, Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO. Chester G. Moore and Lars Eisen, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. W. John Pape, Communicable Disease Program, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, CO.

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