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Outbreak definition by change point analysis: a tool for public health decision?

Abstract : Background: Most studies of epidemic detection focus on their start and rarely on the whole signal or the end of the epidemic. In some cases, it may be necessary to retrospectively identify outbreak signals from surveillance data. Our study aims at evaluating the ability of change point analysis (CPA) methods to locate the whole disease outbreak signal. We will compare our approach with the results coming from experts' signal inspections, considered as the gold standard method. Methods: We simulated 840 time series, each of which includes an epidemic-free baseline (7 options) and a type of epidemic (4 options). We tested the ability of 4 CPA methods (Max-likelihood, Kruskall-Wallis, Kernel, Bayesian) methods and expert inspection to identify the simulated outbreaks. We evaluated the performances using metrics including delay, accuracy, bias, sensitivity, specificity and Bayesian probability of correct classification (PCC). Results: A minimum of 15 h was required for experts for analyzing the 840 curves and a maximum of 25 min for a CPA algorithm. The Kernel algorithm was the most effective overall in terms of accuracy, bias and global decision (PCC = 0.904), compared to PCC of 0.848 for human expert review. Conclusions: For the aim of retrospectively identifying the start and end of a disease outbreak, in the absence of human resources available to do this work, we recommend using the Kernel change point model. And in case of experts' availability, we also suggest to supplement the Human expertise with a CPA, especially when the signal noise difference is below 0.
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Contributor : Isabelle Combe <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 12:47:52 PM
Last modification on : Friday, February 26, 2021 - 12:24:01 PM

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Gaëtan Texier, Magnim Farouh, Liliane Pellegrin, Michael L. Jackson, Jean-Baptiste Meynard, et al.. Outbreak definition by change point analysis: a tool for public health decision?. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, BioMed Central, 2016, 16, ⟨10.1186/s12911-016-0271-x⟩. ⟨hal-01459563⟩



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