Joint quantile disease mapping with application to malaria and G6PD deficiency

Hanan Alahmadi*, Janet Van Niekerk, Tullia Padellini, Håvard Rue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Statistical analysis based on quantile methods is more comprehensive, flexible and less sensitive to outliers when compared to mean methods. Joint disease mapping is useful for inferring correlation between different diseases. Most studies investigate this link through multiple correlated mean regressions. We propose a joint quantile regression framework for multiple diseases where different quantile levels can be considered. We are motivated by the theorized link between the presence of malaria and the gene deficiency G6PD, where medical scientists have anecdotally discovered a possible link between high levels of G6PD and lower than expected levels of malaria initially pointing towards the occurrence of G6PD inhibiting the occurrence of malaria. Thus, the need for flexible joint quantile regression in a disease mapping framework arises. Our model can be used for linear and nonlinear effects of covariates by stochastic splines since we define it as a latent Gaussian model. We perform Bayesian inference using the R integrated nested Laplace approximation, suitable even for large datasets. Finally, we illustrate the model's applicability by considering data from 21 countries, although better data are needed to prove a significant relationship. The proposed methodology offers a framework for future studies of interrelated disease phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number230851
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2024


  • Bayesian analysis
  • disease mapping
  • integrated nested Laplace approximation
  • joint quantile regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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