An analysis of the anthrax epidemic situation among livestock animals in the Republic of Kazakhstan over the period 1933-2016 is presented. During this time, 4,064 anthrax outbreaks (mainly in cattle, small ruminants, pigs and horses) were recorded. They fall into five historical periods of increase and decrease in the annual anthrax incidence (1933-1953; 1954-1968; 1969-1983; 1984- 2001; and 2002-2016), which has been associated with changes in economic activity and veterinary surveillance. To evaluate the temporal trends of incidence variation for each of these time periods, the following methods were applied: i) spatio-temporal analysis using a space-time cube to assess the presence of hotspots (i.e., areas of outbreak clustering) and the trends of their emergence over time; and ii) a linear regression model that was used to evaluate the annual numbers of outbreaks as a function of time. The results show increasing trends during the first two periods followed by a decreasing trend up to now. The peak years of anthrax outbreaks occurred in 1965-1968 but outbreaks still continue with an average annual number of outbreaks of 1.2 (95% confidence interval: 0.6-1.8). The space-time analysis approach enabled visualisation of areas with statistically significant increasing or decreasing trends of outbreak clustering providing a practical opportunity to inform decision-makers and allowing the veterinary services to concentrate their efforts on monitoring the possible risk factors in the identified locations.
Anthrax; Space-time cube; Hotspots; Regression; Kazakhstan