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Finding hotspots: development of an adaptive spatial sampling approach

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The identification of disease hotspots is an increasingly important public health problem. While geospatial modeling offers an opportunity to predict the locations of hotspots using suitable environmental and climatological data, little attention has been paid to optimizing the design of surveys used to inform such models. Here we introduce an adaptive sampling scheme optimized to identify hotspot locations where prevalence exceeds a relevant threshold. Our approach incorporates ideas from Bayesian optimization theory to adaptively select sample batches. We present an experimental simulation study based on survey data of schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis across four countries. Results across all scenarios explored show that adaptive sampling produces superior results and suggest that similar performance to random sampling can be achieved with a fraction of the sample size.

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