PLoS One 2019 16;14(4):e0215434. Epub 2019 Apr 16.
Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
A resurgence of scarlet fever has caused many pediatric infections in East Asia and the United Kingdom. Although scarlet fever in Taiwan has not been a notifiable infectious disease since 2007, the comprehensive national health insurance data can still track its trend. Here, we used data from the open data portal of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control. The scarlet fever trend was measured by outpatient and hospitalization rates from 2009 to 2017. In order to elucidate the spatio-temporal hotspots, we developed a new method named the spatio-temporal Gi* statistic, and applied Joinpoint regression to compute the annual percentage change (APC). The overall APCs in outpatient and hospitalization were 15.1% (95% CI: 10.3%-20.2%) and 7.7% (95%CI: 4.5% -10.9%). The major two infected groups were children aged 5-9 (outpatient: 0.138 scarlet fever diagnoses per 1,000 visits; inpatient: 2.579 per 1,000 visits) and aged 3-4 (outpatient: 0.084 per 1,000 visits; inpatient: 1.469 per 1,000 visits). We found the counties in eastern Taiwan and offshore counties had the most hotspots in the outpatient setting. In terms of hospitalization, the hotspots mostly occurred in offshore counties close to China. With the help of the spatio-temporal statistic, health workers can set up enhanced laboratory surveillance in those hotspots.