Improving dengue fever predictions in Taiwan based on feature selection and random forests

Chao Yang Kuo, Wei Wen Yang, Emily Chia Yu Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dengue fever is a well-studied vector-borne disease in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Several methods for predicting the occurrence of dengue fever in Taiwan have been proposed. However, to the best of our knowledge, no study has investigated the relationship between air quality indices (AQIs) and dengue fever in Taiwan. Results: This study aimed to develop a dengue fever prediction model in which meteorological factors, a vector index, and AQIs were incorporated into different machine learning algorithms. A total of 805 meteorological records from 2013 to 2015 were collected from government open-source data after preprocessing. In addition to well-known dengue-related factors, we investigated the effects of novel variables, including particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 10 µm (PM10), PM2.5, and an ultraviolet index, for predicting dengue fever occurrence. The collected dataset was randomly divided into an 80% training set and a 20% test set. The experimental results showed that the random forests achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.9547 for the test set, which was the best compared with the other machine learning algorithms. In addition, the temperature was the most important factor in our variable importance analysis, and it showed a positive effect on dengue fever at < 30 °C but had less of an effect at > 30 °C. The AQIs were not as important as temperature, but one was selected in the process of filtering the variables and showed a certain influence on the final results. Conclusions: Our study is the first to demonstrate that AQI negatively affects dengue fever occurrence in Taiwan. The proposed prediction model can be used as an early warning system for public health to prevent dengue fever outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number334
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSuppl 2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Air quality index
  • Dengue fever
  • Feature selection
  • Machine learning
  • Random forests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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