A Bayesian mixture modeling approach for public health surveillance

Biostatistics. 2020 Jul 1;21(3):369-383. doi: 10.1093/biostatistics/kxy038.


Spatial monitoring of trends in health data plays an important part of public health surveillance. Most commonly, it is used to understand the etiology of a public health issue, to assess the impact of an intervention, or to provide detection of unusual behavior. In this article, we present a Bayesian mixture model for public health surveillance, which is able to provide estimates of the disease risk in space and time, and also to detect areas with unusual behavior. The model is designed to deal with a range of spatial and temporal patterns in the data, and with time series of different lengths. We carry out a simulation study to assess the performance of the model under different scenarios, and we compare it against a recently proposed Bayesian model for short time series. Finally, the proposed model is used for surveillance of road traffic accidents data in England over the years 2005-2015.

Keywords: Bayesian hierarchical analysis; Mixture modeling; Public health surveillance; Road traffic accidents; Small-area detection; Spatio-temporal modeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't