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Disease, Geography of

  • By: Kirsten M. M. Beyer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Waldo Tobler's first law of geography states that things closer in space are more similar than things farther apart in space. Thus, it is no surprise that disease burdens, often measured by disease rates, create spatial patterns in their distribution and spread. These patterns can be caused by an array of factors, including population demographics, rate and method of infectious disease transmission, environmental contamination, health behaviors, access to health care, and spatial distribution of social or economic conditions.

Identifying spatial patterns of disease distribution or spread is valuable to both public health practice and the expansion of scientific knowledge. Visualization and analysis of spatial patterns can inform public health and medical efforts by improving public health surveillance, identifying places that require additional resources, identifying the best ...

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