Scrub Typhus and Comparisons of Four Main Ethnic Communities in Taiwan in 2004 versus 2008 Using Geographically Weighted Regression

  •  Pui-Jen Tsai    


Purpose: On the main island of Taiwan, a higher risk of scrub typhus infection has been reported in endemic clusters in Southeastern Taiwan and in mountainous township areas. However, research on health care problems associated with scrub typhus in Taiwanese ethnic peoples is limited. This study employs spatial analysis of areal data to determine spatial features related to scrub typhus and the four main Taiwanese ethnicities: Hoklo, Hakka, Mainlander, and aboriginal communities, respectively. Methods: We used a GWR spatial method to analyze the local regressed relationships between scrub typhus incidence and ethnic community percentage in 349 townships in Taiwan, and the subsequent spatial regressed resultants and local parameter estimates were compared between two periods of 2004 and 2008 by kappa statistics. Results: In the GWR models, the spatial regressed relationships of scrub typhus incidences and the Hoklo communities showed significant and negative parameter estimates in numerous locations, showing clusters in Southeastern and Southwestern Taiwan, and areas of the central and southern mountainous townships. Both Hakka and Mainlander communities in the mountainous townships showed less-regressed clusters with scrub typhus prevalence. However, clusters of Aboriginal populations were positively correlated with scrub typhus in highly infected mountainous areas and in Southeastern Taiwan. The kappa value results and the comparisons of local parameter estimates in the 349 townships in Taiwan between 2004 and 2008 indicated that the incidence of scrub typhus in the Hoklo communities was substantial, in the Hakka communities was fair, in the Mainlander communities was slight, and in the aboriginal communities was moderate, respectively. Conclusion: The aboriginal communities have been closely associated with higher risks of scrub typhus in the mountainous townships and in the southeastern portion of Taiwan.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.