An evaluation of SaTScan for the prospective detection of space-time Campylobacter clusters in the North East of England.

Epidemiology and infection

PubMedID: 23347688

Hughes GJ, Gorton R. An evaluation of SaTScan for the prospective detection of space-time Campylobacter clusters in the North East of England. Epidemiol Infect. 2013;1-11.
SUMMARY Campylobacteriosis is the commonest cause of bacterial enteritis in England yet the epidemiology of apparently sporadic cases is not well understood. Here we evaluated the feasibility of applying a space-time cluster detection method to routine laboratory surveillance data in the North East of England by simulating prospective weekly space-time cluster detection using SaTScan as if it had been performed for 2008-2011. From the 209 simulated weekly runs using a circular window, 20 distinct clusters were found which contained a median of 30 cases (interquartile range 15-66) from a median population of ~134 000 persons. This corresponds to detection of a new cluster every 10 weeks. We found significant differences in age, sex and deprivation score distributions between areas within clusters compared to those without. The results of this study suggest that space-time detection of Campylobacter clusters could be used to find groups of cases amenable to epidemiological investigation.