An ensemble prediction approach to weekly Dengue cases forecasting based on climatic and terrain conditions

Sougata Deb, Cleta Milagros, Libre Acebedo, Gomathypriya Dhanapal, Chua Matthew, Chin Heng, Sougata Deb
2017 Journal of Health and Social Sciences   unpublished
Dengue fever has been one of the most concerning endemic diseases of recent times. Every year, 50-100 million people get infected by the dengue virus across the world. Historically, it has been most prevalent in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. In recent years, frequent dengue epidemics have started occurring in Latin America as well. This study focused on assessing the impact of different short and long-term lagged climatic predictors on dengue cases. Additionally, it assessed the
more » ... assessed the impact of building an ensemble model using multiple time series and regression models, in improving prediction accuracy. Materials and Methods: Experimental data were based on two Latin American cities, viz. San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Iquitos (Peru). Due to weather and geographic differences, San Juan recorded higher dengue incidences than Iquitos. Using lagged cross-correlations, this study confirmed the impact of temperature and vegetation on the number of dengue cases for both cities, though in varied degrees and time lags. An ensemble of multiple predictive models using an elaborate set of derived predictors was built and validated. Results: The proposed ensemble prediction achieved a mean absolute error of 21.55, 4.26 points lower than the 25.81 obtained by a standard negative binomial model. Changes in climatic conditions and urbanization were found to be strong predictors as established empirically in other researches. Some of the predictors were new and informative, which have not been explored in any other relevant studies yet. Discussion and Conclusions: Two original contributions were made in this research. Firstly, a focused and extensive feature engineering aligned with the mosquito lifecycle. Secondly, a novel covariate pattern-matching based prediction approach using past time series trend of the predictor variables. Increased accuracy of the proposed model over the benchmark model proved the appropriateness of the analytical approach for similar epidemic prediction research.