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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 7247983, 12 pages
Research Article

Analysis of Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Pandemic SARS Spread in Mainland China

1State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Beijing 100101, China
2Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing 100101, China

Received 29 March 2016; Revised 23 June 2016; Accepted 29 June 2016

Academic Editor: Francesco Dondero

Copyright © 2016 Chunxiang Cao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is one of the most severe emerging infectious diseases of the 21st century so far. SARS caused a pandemic that spread throughout mainland China for 7 months, infecting 5318 persons in 194 administrative regions. Using detailed mainland China epidemiological data, we study spatiotemporal aspects of this person-to-person contagious disease and simulate its spatiotemporal transmission dynamics via the Bayesian Maximum Entropy (BME) method. The BME reveals that SARS outbreaks show autocorrelation within certain spatial and temporal distances. We use BME to fit a theoretical covariance model that has a sine hole spatial component and exponential temporal component and obtain the weights of geographical and temporal autocorrelation factors. Using the covariance model, SARS dynamics were estimated and simulated under the most probable conditions. Our study suggests that SARS transmission varies in its epidemiological characteristics and SARS outbreak distributions exhibit palpable clusters on both spatial and temporal scales. In addition, the BME modelling demonstrates that SARS transmission features are affected by spatial heterogeneity, so we analyze potential causes. This may benefit epidemiological control of pandemic infectious diseases.