Spatial epidemiology: the importance of mapping in infectious disease research

Spatial epidemiology as a discipline aims to describe and analyse the distribution of health outcomes in relation to spatial determinants. Mapping of infectious diseases is a primary goal in the field, with disease distribution maps allowing an immediate visualization of the extent and magnitude of the public health problem. Statistical and mathematical models alongside disease ecology theory enable an examination of the socio-demographic and environmental factors underlying the observed distribution of a disease, which can then inform the generation of risk maps for areas where the disease has yet to be reported. In this talk I will discuss the various scales at which mapping and spatial analysis of disease may be carried out, also highlighting work on the global spatial epidemiology of several infectious diseases, including hepatitis-C, dengue, and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.