Volume 82, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Applied Spatial Statistics used in conjunction with geographic information systems (GIS) provide an efficient tool for the surveillance of diseases. Here, using these tools we analyzed the spatial distribution of Hansen's disease in an endemic area in Brazil. A sample of 808 selected from a universe of 1,293 cases was geocoded in Mossoró, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Hansen's disease cases were not distributed randomly within the neighborhoods, with higher detection rates found in more populated districts. Cluster analysis identified two areas of high risk, one with a relative risk of 5.9 ( = 0.001) and the other 6.5 ( = 0.001). A significant relationship between the geographic distribution of disease and the social economic variables indicative of poverty was observed. Our study shows that the combination of GIS and spatial analysis can identify clustering of transmissible disease, such as Hansen's disease, pointing to areas where intervention efforts can be targeted to control disease.


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  • Received : 29 Dec 2008
  • Accepted : 26 Oct 2009
  • Published online : 05 Feb 2010

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