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On the use of contour maps in the analysis of spread of communicable disease*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 May 2009

Michael Splaine
Zambia Operational Research Group, P.O. Box 172, Kitwe, Zambia
Alan P. Lintott
Zambia Operational Research Group, P.O. Box 172, Kitwe, Zambia
Juan J. Angulo
Computer Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., 30322, USA
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The co-ordinates of the dwellings where cases of variola minor (alastrim) occurred during a small epidemic were used in a worked example of contour mapping of disease spread. The contoured variable was the date of onset, relative to an arbitrary base date, of the case introducing the disease into each of twenty-two households. Three contour maps prepared with slightly different computer programmes or dates exhibited similar concentric loops whose centres were close to the first infected household. The average rate of spread of the disease was estimated by regression of the number of days to onset of the first case in the household on the average distance from an arbitrary origin to the relevant contour line. The calculated average rate of spread was 1.22 metres per day. An additional map was contoured using the cumulative number of cases as the contoured variable, relative to the onset of the example epidemic.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1974



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