Risk Evaluation of Epidemic Disease –Taking Chikungunya Disease as an Example
Hsiu-Yun Lo, Wan-Jen Wu, Cheng-Yi Lee, Shiang-Lin Yang, Jen-Hsiang Chuang
2013 Vol.29 NO.15
Correspondence Author： Hsiu-Yun Lo
Chikungunya disease is mainly prevalent in South East Asian countries neighboring Taiwan, areas along the coast of the Indian Ocean and African nations. At the present time, sporadic cases and outbreaks in countries in Europe and America also are mostly caused by imported cases from South East Asian or African countries. To investigate the epidemic risk of Chikungunya disease in Taiwan, this research adopted the rapid risk evaluation toolkit developed by the Europe Union to simulate epidemic situations and obtain expert assessments on the likely scale of infection among the general public and the level of social impact of during a local epidemic of Chikungunya disease in Taiwan.
Through reviewing literature and data on evidence-based epidemic situational backgrounds and summarizing experts’ discussions, a conclusion was derived that if a local epidemic of Chikungunya disease occurred in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City, the disease infection rate in both the county where the epidemic originated and in other counties would be classified as ”High risk rate,” and the social impact caused by the epidemic would be a “Medium shock;” summing up the outcomes of disease infection rate and the social impact of the epidemic, the overall risk level of an epidemic would be judged at a “High risk” level.
Because of constant flows of travelers, foreign workers and business people between Taiwan and South East Asia, there are few imported cases of Chikungunya disease in Taiwan every year. Furthermore, the vector mosquitoes needed to spread the Chikungunya disease are distributed throughout Taiwan. As soon as the virus invades, if the epidemic situation is not promptly controlled, and under the influence of additional factors such as Aedes albopictus’ genetic mutations that gives them increasing ability to carry the virus, cluster outbreaks can occur and spread to other counties. As a result, besides understanding the characteristics of the virus and the disease vector, attention should be paid to disease risk evaluation and the operational mode of risk evaluation. Through simulating epidemic situations and becoming familiar with the risk evaluation toolkit, measures can be taken early in an epidemic to assess and evaluate risk, and this in turn can guide the development of prevention policy and enhance the comprehensiveness of the prevention plan.