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Keywords:

  • Campylobacteriosis;
  • forecasting;
  • time series;
  • ARIMA ;
  • Holt-Winters;
  • prediction;
  • epidemiology

Summary

Predicting campylobacteriosis cases is a matter of considerable concern in New Zealand, after the number of the notified cases was the highest among the developed countries in 2006. Thus, there is a need to develop a model or a tool to predict accurately the number of campylobacteriosis cases as the Microbial Risk Assessment Model used to predict the number of campylobacteriosis cases failed to predict accurately the number of actual cases. We explore the appropriateness of classical time series modelling approaches for predicting campylobacteriosis. Finding the most appropriate time series model for New Zealand data has additional practical considerations given a possible structural change, that is, a specific and sudden change in response to the implemented interventions. A univariate methodological approach was used to predict monthly disease cases using New Zealand surveillance data of campylobacteriosis incidence from 1998 to 2009. The data from the years 1998 to 2008 were used to model the time series with the year 2009 held out of the data set for model validation. The best two models were then fitted to the full 1998–2009 data and used to predict for each month of 2010. The Holt-Winters (multiplicative) and ARIMA (additive) intervention models were considered the best models for predicting campylobacteriosis in New Zealand. It was noticed that the prediction by an additive ARIMA with intervention was slightly better than the prediction by a Holt-Winter multiplicative method for the annual total in year 2010, the former predicting only 23 cases less than the actual reported cases. It is confirmed that classical time series techniques such as ARIMA with intervention and Holt-Winters can provide a good prediction performance for campylobacteriosis risk in New Zealand. The results reported by this study are useful to the New Zealand Health and Safety Authority's efforts in addressing the problem of the campylobacteriosis epidemic.