Evaluating area-level spatial clustering of Salmonella Enteritidis infections and their socioeconomic determinants in the greater Toronto area, Ontario, Canada (2007 - 2009): A retrospective population-based ecological study

Csaba Varga, David L. Pearl, Scott A. McEwen, Jan M. Sargeant, Frank Pollari, Michele T. Guerin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: There have been only a few region-level ecological studies conducted in Canada investigating enteric infections in humans. Our study objectives were to 1) assess the spatial clustering of Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) human infections in the Greater Toronto Area, and 2) identify underlying area-level associations between S. Enteritidis infection rates and socioeconomic status (SES) indicators that might explain the clustering of infections. Methods. Retrospective data on S. Enteritidis infections from 2007 to 2009 were obtained from Ontario's reportable disease surveillance database and were grouped at the forward sortation area (FSA) - level. A spatial scan statistic was employed to identify FSA-level spatial clusters of high infection rates. Negative binomial regression was used to identify FSA-level associations between S. Enteritidis infection rates and SES indicators obtained from the 2006 Census of Canada. Global Moran's I statistic was used to evaluate the final model for residual spatial clustering. Results: A spatial cluster that included nine neighbouring FSAs was identified in downtown Toronto. A significant positive curvilinear relationship was observed between S. Enteritidis infection rates and FSA-level average number of children at home per census family. Areas with high and areas with low average median family income had higher infection rates than FSAs with medium average median family income. Areas with a high proportion of visible minority population had lower infection rates than FSAs with a medium proportion of visible minority population. The Moran's I statistic was not significant, indicating that no residual spatial autocorrelation was present after accounting for the SES variables in the final model. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that FSAs with high and low average median family income, medium proportion of visible minority population, and high average number of children at home per census family had the highest S. Enteritidis infection rates. These areas should be targeted when designing disease control and prevention programs. Future studies are needed in areas with high S. Enteritidis infection rates to identify sources of environmental contamination of the local food supply, to assess food safety practices at local food markets, retail stores, and restaurants, and to identify novel individual-level risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1078
JournalBMC public health
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Choropleth map
  • Ecological study
  • GIS
  • Moran's I
  • Negative binomial regression
  • Salmonella Enteritidis
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Spatial scan statistic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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