Identifying the source of food-borne disease outbreaks: An application of Bayesian variable selection.
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TitleIdentifying the source of food-borne disease outbreaks: An application of Bayesian variable selection.
Published inStat Methods Med Res 2018; advance online publication (ahead of print)
PubliekssamenvattingEarly identification of contaminated food products is crucial in reducing health burdens of food-borne disease outbreaks. Analytic case-control studies are primarily used in this identification stage by comparing exposures in cases and controls using logistic regression. Standard epidemiological analysis practice is not formally defined and the combination of currently applied methods is subject to issues such as response misclassification, missing values, multiple testing problems and small sample estimation problems resulting in biased and possibly misleading results. In this paper, we develop a formal Bayesian variable selection method to account for misclassified responses and missing covariates, which are common complications in food-borne outbreak investigations. We illustrate the implementation and performance of our method on a Salmonella Thompson outbreak in the Netherlands in 2012. Our method is shown to perform better than the standard logistic regression approach with respect to earlier identification of contaminated food products. It also allows relatively easy implementation of otherwise complex methodological issues.
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