Spatiotemporal Clustering of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Incidence in Saudi Arabia, 2012-2019.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 07 15; 16(14)IJ
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a great public health concern globally. Although 83% of the globally confirmed cases have emerged in Saudi Arabia, the spatiotemporal clustering of MERS-CoV incidence has not been investigated. This study analysed the spatiotemporal patterns and clusters of laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV cases reported in Saudi Arabia between June 2012 and March 2019. Temporal, seasonal, spatial and spatiotemporal cluster analyses were performed using Kulldorff's spatial scan statistics to determine the time period and geographical areas with the highest MERS-CoV infection risk. A strongly significant temporal cluster for MERS-CoV infection risk was identified between April 5 and May 24, 2014. Most MERS-CoV infections occurred during the spring season (41.88%), with April and May showing significant seasonal clusters. Wadi Addawasir showed a high-risk spatial cluster for MERS-CoV infection. The most likely high-risk MERS-CoV annual spatiotemporal clusters were identified for a group of cities (n = 10) in Riyadh province between 2014 and 2016. A monthly spatiotemporal cluster included Jeddah, Makkah and Taif cities, with the most likely high-risk MERS-CoV infection cluster occurring between April and May 2014. Significant spatiotemporal clusters of MERS-CoV incidence were identified in Saudi Arabia. The findings are relevant to control the spread of the disease. This study provides preliminary risk assessments for the further investigation of the environmental risk factors associated with MERS-CoV clusters.