Dengue Dynamics in Binh Thuan Province, Southern Vietnam: Periodicity, Synchronicity and Climate Variability

Simmons, Cameron
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BACKGROUND: Dengue is a major global public health problem with increasing incidence and geographic spread. The epidemiology is complex with long inter-epidemic intervals and endemic with seasonal fluctuations. This study was initiated to investigate dengue transmission dynamics in Binh Thuan province, southern Vietnam. METHODOLOGY: Wavelet analyses were performed on time series of monthly notified dengue cases from January 1994 to June 2009 (i) to detect and quantify dengue periodicity, (ii) to describe synchrony patterns in both time and space, (iii) to investigate the spatio-temporal waves and (iv) to associate the relationship between dengue incidence and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indices in Binh Thuan province, southern Vietnam. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We demonstrate a continuous annual mode of oscillation and a multi-annual cycle of around 2-3-years was solely observed from 1996-2001. Synchrony in time and between districts was detected for both the annual and 2-3-year cycle. Phase differences used to describe the spatio-temporal patterns suggested that the seasonal wave of infection was either synchronous among all districts or moving away from Phan Thiet district. The 2-3-year periodic wave was moving towards, rather than away from Phan Thiet district. A strong non-stationary association between ENSO indices and climate variables with dengue incidence in the 2-3-year periodic band was found. CONCLUSIONS: A multi-annual mode of oscillation was observed and these 2-3-year waves of infection probably started outside Binh Thuan province. Associations with climatic variables were observed with dengue incidence. Here, we have provided insight in dengue population transmission dynamics over the past 14.5 years. Further studies on an extensive time series dataset are needed to test the hypothesis that epidemics emanate from larger cities in southern Vietnam.