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Statistical methodological issues in mapping historical schistosomiasis survey data

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Chammartin Frédérique, Hürlimann Eveline, Raso Giovanna, N’Goran Eliézer K., Utzinger Jürg, Vounatsou Penelope,
Project Development of spatial statistical methodology for the analysis of health demographic surveillance system (DSS) data
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Acta Tropica
Volume (Issue) 128(2)
Page(s) 345 - 352
Title of proceedings Acta Tropica
DOI 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.04.012


For schistosomiasis and other neglected tropical diseases for which resources for control are still limited, model-based maps are needed for prioritising spatial targeting of control interventions and surveillance of control programmes. Bayesian geostatistical modelling has been widely and effectively used to generate smooth empirical risk maps. In this paper, we review important issues related to the modelling of schistosomiasis risk, including Bayesian computation of large datasets, heterogeneity of historical survey data, stationary and isotropy assumptions and novel approaches for Bayesian geostatistical variable selection. We provide an example of advanced Bayesian geostatistical variable selection based on historical prevalence data of Schistosoma mansoni in Côte d’Ivoire. We include a “parameter expanded normal mixture of inverse-gamma” prior for the regression coefficients, which in turn allows selection of blocks of covariates, particularly categorical variables. The implemented Bayesian geostatistical variable selection provided a rigorous approach for the selection of predictors within a Bayesian geostatistical framework, identified the most important predictors of S. mansoni infection risk and led to a more parsimonious model compared to traditional selection approaches that ignore the spatial structure in the data. In conclusion, statistical advances in Bayesian geostatistical modelling offer unique opportunities to account for important inherent characteristics of the Schistosoma infection, and hence Bayesian geostatistical models can guide the spatial targeting of control interventions.