Space-time dynamics of a triple epidemic: dengue, chikungunya and Zika clusters in the city of Rio de Janeiro.


mosquitoes, has been endemic in Brazil for decades. However, vector-control strategies have not led to a significant reduction in the disease burden and have not been sufficient to prevent chikungunya and Zika entry and establishment in the country. In Rio de Janeiro city, the first Zika and chikungunya epidemics were detected between 2015 and 2016, coinciding with a dengue epidemic. Understanding the behaviour of these diseases in a triple epidemic scenario is a necessary step for devising better interventions for prevention and outbreak response. We applied scan statistics analysis to detect spatio-temporal clustering for each disease separately and for all three simultaneously. In general, clusters were not detected in the same locations and time periods, possibly owing to competition between viruses for host resources, depletion of susceptible population, different introduction times and change in behaviour of the human population (e.g. intensified vector-control activities in response to increasing cases of a particular arbovirus). Simultaneous clusters of the three diseases usually included neighbourhoods with high population density and low socioeconomic status, particularly in the North region of the city. The use of space-time cluster detection can guide intensive interventions to high-risk locations in a timely manner, to improve clinical diagnosis and management, and pinpoint vector-control measures.

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