Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
VELASQUEZ, Javier Oswaldo Rodríguez. A method for forecasting the seasonal dynamic of malaria in the municipalities of Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.27, n.3, pp. 211-218. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892010000300008.
OBJECTIVE: To develop a methodology for forecasting the seasonal dynamic of malaria outbreaks in the municipalities of Colombia. METHODS: Epidemiologic ranges were defined by multiples of 50 cases for the six municipalities with the highest incidence, 25 cases for the municipalities that ranked 10th and 11th by incidence, 10 for the municipality that ranked 193rd, and 5 for the municipality that ranked 402nd. The specific probability values for each epidemiologic range appearing in each municipality, as well as the S/k value-the ratio between entropy (S) and the Boltzmann constant (k)- were calculated for each three-week set, along with the differences in this ratio divided by the consecutive sets of weeks. These mathematical ratios were used to determine the values for forecasting the case dynamic, which were compared with the actual epidemiologic data from the period 2003-2007. RESULTS: The probability of the epidemiologic ranges appearing ranged from 0.019 and 1.00, while the differences in the S/k ratio between the sets of consecutive weeks ranged from 0.23 to 0.29. Three ratios were established to determine whether the dynamic corresponded to an outbreak. These ratios were corroborated with real epidemiological data from 810 Colombian municipalities. CONCLUSIONS: This methodology allows us to forecast the malaria case dynamic and outbreaks in the municipalities of Colombia and can be used in planning interventions and public health policies.
Keywords : Malaria; forecasting; temporal distribution; disease outbreaks; epidemiologic surveillance; Colombia.