Characterization of the Global Spatio-temporal Transmission of the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza

  • 1. College of Tourism and Environment, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China;
    2. College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    3. School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China;
    4. Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China;
    5. Department of Geography, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA

Received date: 2012-11-19

  Revised date: 2012-11-21

  Online published: 2012-12-25


In March of 2009, a novel swine-origin influenza A(H1N1) virus was first discovered in Mexico and quickly spread to over 200 countries in less than two years. However, limited research has been conducted on the characterization of the global spatio-temporal transmission of the pandemic. Applying Ripley's K function based on the spherical distances, we analyzed spatial pattern of the outbreaks of the H1N1 pandemic from March 15, 2009 to June 9, 2009. Compared with other type A influenza occurred during 2000-2008, the 2009 H1N1 influenza showed generally similar temporal trend, but marked difference when we broke down the outbreak data of each country along the latitude. To look into the differences, we further associated the number of weekly cases of the H1N1 influenza with national arrivals through customs. Results show that the 2009 H1N1 influenza in early period was spatially clustered. The maximum value of the function L was identical to that of the 65 global cities, within which 79 percent of the outbreaks were distributed within a radius of 600 km. In addition, the correlation coefficients show that the highest positive correlation (r=0.7,p=.002) between national arrivals and weekly influenza cases lied in the 19th week. These findings suggest that global cities are the key nodes of the network which disseminates international travels, hence the viruses in the early period of the pandemic. It was found that the seasonal environmental factors also have impact on the influenza pandemic through applying time series analysis. Unexpectedly, some countries in the northern temperate zone reported more confirmed human cases in June and July when was thought not to be suitable for the transmission of the influenza. In the meantime, the winter peaks of cases for the countries that lie to the north of the tropic of cancer are clustered around the period between the 45th week and the 48th week, which is earlier than the common type A influenza season. It might partially due to the lack of immunity among the population against the pandemic A(H1N1)2009 virus.

Cite this article

JIANG Zhi-Ben, BAI Jian-Jun, CA Dun, LI Rui-Yun, JIN Shen-Yu, XU Bing . Characterization of the Global Spatio-temporal Transmission of the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza[J]. Journal of Geo-information Science, 2012 , 14(6) : 794 -799 . DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1047.2012.00794


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