Open Access Open Badges Research article

Spatial analysis of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in China

Liqun Fang1, Lei Yan2, Song Liang25, Sake J de Vlas3, Dan Feng1, Xiaona Han1, Wenjuan Zhao1, Bing Xu2, Ling Bian4, Hong Yang1, Peng Gong2, Jan Hendrik Richardus3 and Wuchun Cao1*

Author Affiliations

1 Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity, Beijing, China

2 Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China

3 Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

4 Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, USA

5 School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, USA

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2006, 6:77  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-77

Published: 26 April 2006



Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is endemic in many provinces with high incidence in mainland China, although integrated intervention measures including rodent control, environment management and vaccination have been implemented for over ten years. In this study, we conducted a geographic information system (GIS)-based spatial analysis on distribution of HFRS cases for the whole country with an objective to inform priority areas for public health planning and resource allocation.


Annualized average incidence at a county level was calculated using HFRS cases reported during 1994–1998 in mainland China. GIS-based spatial analyses were conducted to detect spatial autocorrelation and clusters of HFRS incidence at the county level throughout the country.


Spatial distribution of HFRS cases in mainland China from 1994 to 1998 was mapped at county level in the aspects of crude incidence, excess hazard and spatial smoothed incidence. The spatial distribution of HFRS cases was nonrandom and clustered with a Moran's I = 0.5044 (p = 0.001). Spatial cluster analyses suggested that 26 and 39 areas were at increased risks of HFRS (p < 0.01) with maximum spatial cluster sizes of ≤ 20% and ≤ 10% of the total population, respectively.


The application of GIS, together with spatial statistical techniques, provide a means to quantify explicit HFRS risks and to further identify environmental factors responsible for the increasing disease risks. We demonstrate a new perspective of integrating such spatial analysis tools into the epidemiologic study and risk assessment of HFRS.