Korean J Epidemiol.  1997 Jun;19(1):73-80.

A Statistical Standard for Detecting Epidemic of Notifiable Acute Communicable Diseases in Korea

  • 1Department of Statistics, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Korea.
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Korea.


Many problems have been stated in the surveillance system of notifiable acute communicable diseases in Korea. Lack of objective tools for detecting epidemic is one of the most fundamental. We propose a statistical standard for detecting epidemic of those diseases that could be easily and promptly applicable to the existing data. Suggested standard measure is computed from the median and the spread of upper and lower hinge(spr(H)) which is robust to the assumption of normal distribution, so frequently used in exploratory data analysis as a measure of variation, and the results are compared with those of existing method using recent 3 years from January 1994 to December 1996 of monthly data of 8 notifiable acute communicable diseases in Korea. Monthly pattern of statistical epidemic between the proposed (median) and existing(mean) methods is similar. Therefore, we propose that the statistical epidemic should be defined when the current occurrence exeeds the standards of both methods. When the data collection is made weekly than monthly, the proposed method of determining the time of epidemic will be much helpful for the management of notifiable diseases.


Notifiable acute communicable disease; Statistical standard; Epidemic Hinge; spr(H)

MeSH Terms

Communicable Diseases*
Data Collection
Statistics as Topic
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