Geographic profiling and infectious disease outbreaks

Geographic profiling (GP) is a statistical technique developed in criminology to identify likely candidates from large lists of suspects in cases of serial crime such as murder or rape. GP uses the spatial locations of crime sites to make inferences about the location of the offender’s home or workplace and is used by law enforcement agencies around the world. Recently, GP has been adapted to identify the geographical source of infectious disease outbreaks. This project will apply the technique to clusters of infections identified by DNA fingerprinting of isolates (analogous to clusters of crimes with the same offence profile). The work will focus on the exemplars of Legionnaires’ disease (usually due to poorly maintained cooling towers or other water systems) and tuberculosis (often centred around transmission “venues” such as pubs, clubs, crack houses or QAT houses).

Dr Andrew Hayward and Catherine Smith are working on this project with Dr Steve Le Comber (Queen Mary University of London), Dr Hannah Fry, (UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis), and Public Health England.

Contact catherine.smith.13@ucl.ac.uk for more information. 

Page last modified on 23 apr 14 12:11