Spatial methods for infectious disease outbreak investigations: systematic literature review

CM Smith, SC Le Comber, H Fry et al.
Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 39, 01 October 2015

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Investigations of infectious disease outbreaks are conventionally framed in terms of person, time and place. Although geographic information systems have increased the range of tools available, spatial analyses are used relatively infrequently. The authors conducted a systematic review of published reports of outbreak investigations worldwide to estimate the prevalence of spatial methods, describe the techniques applied and explore their utility. Spatial tools were usefully applied throughout investigations, from initial confirmation of the outbreak to describing and analysing cases and communicating findings. They provided valuable insights that led to public health actions, but there is scope for much wider implementation and development of new methods.

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