Geospatial modeling of microcephaly and zika virus spread patterns in Brazil.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Microcephaly and Zika Virus infection (ZIKV) were declared Public Health Emergencies of International Concern by the World Health Organization in 2016. Brazil was considered the epicenter of the outbreak. However, the occurrence of both ZIKV and microcephaly in Brazil was not evenly distributed across the country. To better understand this phenomenon, we investigate regional characteristics at the municipal level that can be associated with the incidence of microcephaly, our response variable, and its relationship with ZIKV and other predictors. All epidemiological data in this study was provided by the Ministry of Health official database (DATASUS). Microcephaly was only confirmed after birth and the diagnostic was made regardless of the mother's ZIKV status. Using exploratory spatial data analysis and spatial autoregressive Tobit models, our results show that microcephaly incidence is significantly, at 95% confidence level, related not only to ZIKV, but also to access to primary care, population size, gross national product, mobility and environmental attributes of the municipalities. There is also a significant spatial autocorrelation of the dependent variable. The results indicate that municipalities that show a high incidence of microcephaly tend to be clustered in space and that incidence of microcephaly varies considerably across regions when correlated only with ZIKV, i.e. that ZIKV alone cannot explain the differences in microcephaly across regions and their correlation is mediated by regional attributes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Amaral, P; Resende de Carvalho, L; Hernandes Rocha, TA; da Silva, NC; Vissoci, JRN

Published Date

  • 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 14 / 9

Start / End Page

  • e0222668 -

PubMed ID

  • 31557165

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6762139

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0222668


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States