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Predictive assessment of a non-linear random effects model for multivariate time series of infectious disease counts

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2011
Author Paul Michaela, Held Leonhard,
Project Multivariate analysis of dependent count data
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Statistics in Medicine
Volume (Issue) 30(10)
Page(s) 1118 - 1136
Title of proceedings Statistics in Medicine
DOI 10.1002/sim.4177


Infectious disease counts from surveillance systems are typically observed in several administrative geographical areas. In this paper, a non-linear model for the analysis of such multiple time series of counts is discussed. To account for heterogeneous incidence levels or varying transmission of a pathogen across regions, region-specific and possibly spatially correlated random effects are introduced. Inference is based on penalized likelihood methodology for mixed models. Since the use of classical model choice criteria such as AIC or BIC can be problematic in the presence of random effects, models are compared by means of one-step-ahead predictions and proper scoring rules. In a case study, the model is applied to monthly counts of meningococcal disease cases in 94 departments of France (excluding Corsica) and weekly counts of influenza cases in 14 administrative districts of Southern Germany. The predictive performance improves if existing heterogeneity is accounted for by random effects.