Due to recent emergence, dengue is becoming one of the major public health problems in Nepal. The numbers of reported dengue cases in general and the area with reported dengue cases are both continuously increasing in recent years. However, spatiotemporal patterns and clusters of dengue have not been investigated yet. This study aims to fill this gap by analyzing spatiotemporal patterns based on monthly surveillance data aggregated at district.
Dengue cases from 2010 to 2014 at district level were collected from the Nepal government’s health and mapping agencies respectively. GeoDa software was used to map crude incidence, excess hazard and spatially smoothed incidence. Cluster analysis was performed in SaTScan software to explore spatiotemporal clusters of dengue during the above-mentioned time period.
Spatiotemporal distribution of dengue fever in Nepal from 2010 to 2014 was mapped at district level in terms of crude incidence, excess risk and spatially smoothed incidence. Results show that the distribution of dengue fever was not random but clustered in space and time. Chitwan district was identified as the most likely cluster and Jhapa district was the first secondary cluster in both spatial and spatiotemporal scan. July to September of 2010 was identified as a significant temporal cluster.
This study assessed and mapped for the first time the spatiotemporal pattern of dengue fever in Nepal. Two districts namely Chitwan and Jhapa were found highly affected by dengue fever. The current study also demonstrated the importance of geospatial approach in epidemiological research. The initial result on dengue patterns and risk of this study may assist institutions and policy makers to develop better preventive strategies.