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Statistical monitoring-based alarming systems in modeling the AIDS epidemic in the United States, 1985-2011

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Background: Better decisions for the control of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases require better information. The large amount of available public health data makes it possible to extract such information to monitor and predict significant disease events in disease epidemic. The detection of unusual events often involves a combination of a forecasting and a decision mechanism assessing the extent to which an observed event differs significantly from a forecast event. A number of methods and models have been proposed to monitor the trend of infectious disease and to detect unusual events. Although these existing methods and models are useful, many new issues remain to be addressed, including the complicated data structure and the infectious disease dynamics. To overcome these issues, we introduced the statistical tool using statistical process control, and proposed a new method under that framework.

Methods: In this paper, we first reviewed the most commonly used methods and models, including the historical limit method, the time series analysis, the hidden Markov models, and the process control charts. Then, we further discussed issues with the current available methods. We proposed a new method using statistical process control. A major feature of the new method is that it prospectively monitors the disease incidence using sequentially collected data over time. It also takes into account a wide variety of longitudinal patterns and possible autocorrelation in the data.

Results: We test this novel method with the recorded data of the number of AIDS cases in different states of US from 1985 to 2011. The results show that our new method is effective in detecting and predicting the time trends of AIDS epidemic for individual states and for US as a whole. Although AIDS data are used in our demonstration, this method can be used for monitoring other infectious diseases.
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Keywords: Early detection; Statistical Process Control (SPC); epidemiology; incidence rate; public health surveillance; seasonality; sequential monitoring

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2016-03-01

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  • Current HIV Research aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments of HIV research. We invite comprehensive review articles and novel, pioneering work in the basic and clinical fields on all areas of HIV research, including virus replication and gene expression, HIV assembly, virus-cell interaction, viral pathogenesis, epidemiology and transmission, anti-retroviral therapy and adherence, drug discovery, the latest developments in HIV/AIDS vaccines and animal models, mechanisms and interactions with AIDS related diseases, social and public health issues related to HIV disease, and prevention of viral infection. Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews and original research written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on HIV research. Periodically, the journal will invite guest editors to devote an issue on a particular area of HIV research of great interest that increases our understanding of the virus and its complex interaction with the host.
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