Scientists from the National Epidemiology Center (CNE) of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) have published, in collaboration with a team from the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid, a study on an early analysis tool to help make decisions based on in the evidence in the field of pandemic of covid-19. The results have just been published in the journal BMC Public Health.
This tool, which was active collecting data after the 2020 total lockdown Until the end of August, it will be activated again in the next few weeks to offer new information in the summer of 2021. When it starts up again, it will show daily and publicly the results of active zones (clusters) of covid-19 .
This surveillance system was very useful to characterize the evolution of the covid-19 clusters during the summer of 2020 in Spain. Therefore, its application during the next summer can mean an improvement in the detection of possible outbreaks and decision-making
Thanks to a technique called emerging spatio-temporal cluster analysis (STSS), this system characterizes the spatial and temporal spread of disease incidence. The system feeds on the data of confirmed daily cases of covid-19 declared to the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network (RENAVE), which is coordinated by the CNE.
The results show that the tool detected the progressive increase in active clusters and municipalities affected by sprouts: The spread occurred starting from few clusters of few cases in June, located in certain regions, until reaching a national distribution of larger clusters that covered a much higher average number of municipalities and total cases at the end of August.
Optimize detection of potential outbreaks
The authors point out that covid-19 surveillance based on this STSS tool may be useful in a scenario of low incidence to help manage emerging outbreaks capable of fueling widespread transmission.
If this is the case, the system follows the spatio-temporal trends of distribution and spread of the disease in real time. And by looking at the aggregation of groups in space and time, as observed last year, you can anticipate the possible occurrence of a community spread, and facilitate the adoption of appropriate measures.
The researchers conclude that the surveillance system based on the STSS tool had a significant utility to characterize the evolution of the covid-19 clusters during the summer of 2020 in Spain. Therefore, its application during the next summer – in which a more favorable situation is expected thanks, among other factors, to the influence of the vaccination– It can lead to an improvement in the detection of possible outbreaks and decision-making.
Rosillo, N., Del-Águila-Mejía, J., Rojas-Benedicto, A. et al. Real time surveillance of COVID-19 space and time clusters during the summer 2020 in Spain. BMC Public Health 21, 961 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10961-z
Carlos III Health Institute
Rights: Creative Commons.