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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


WERNECK, Guilherme Loureiro. Georeferenced data in epidemiologic research. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2008, vol.13, n.6, pp.1753-1766. ISSN 1678-4561.

This paper reviews some conceptual and practical issues regarding the application of georeferenced data in epidemiologic research. Starting with the disease mapping tradition of geographical medicine, topics such as types of georeferenced data, implications for data analysis, spatial autocorrelation and main analytical approaches are heuristically discussed, relying on examples from the epidemiologic literature, most of them concerning mapping disease distribution, detection of disease spatial clustering, evaluation of exposure in environmental health investigation and ecological correlation studies. As for concluding remarks, special topics that deserve further development, including the misuses of the concept of space in epidemiologic research, issues related to data quality and confidentiality, the role of epidemiologic designs for spatial research, sensitivity analysis and spatiotemporal modeling, are presented.

Keywords : Epidemiology; Medical geography; Epidemiologic methods; Small-area analysis; Ecological studies; Clustering.

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