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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


DUNN, John  and  ANDREOLI, Sérgio Baxter. Capture-recapture: a new methodology for epidemiological research. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1994, vol.28, n.6, pp.449-453. ISSN 1518-8787.

Although capture-recapture method is not new, their use in epidemiological studies has so far been limited. The method was developed by animal ecologists to estimate the size of various species populations, but in recent years it has been used to measure the incidence and prevalence of a variety of non-communicable diseases. Capture-recapture allows more accurate estimates to be made than is the case with traditional methods and is more cost-effective. The method is ideally suited to studying rare or elusive populations, such as intravenous drug misusers; but they are highly adaptable and have been used to study populations as diverse as street working prostitutes and the human red-cell volume. The objectives of this review are to explain the mathematical theory behind capture-recapture, give examples of its use and application in clinical epidemiology and out line some of the modifications that have been made to the theory, which take into account the complex nature of samples used in clinical research. An increasing number of medical epidemoilogists have started to use the method, and its potencial for future epidemiological research is enormous.

Keywords : Epidemiologic methods; Incidence; Prevalence.

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