medical topography


Summary: The systematic surveying, mapping, charting, and description of specific geographical sites, with reference to the physical features that were presumed to influence health and disease. Medical topography should be differentiated from EPIDEMIOLOGY in that the former emphasizes geography whereas the latter emphasizes disease outbreaks.

Top Publications

  1. Githeko A, Ayisi J, Odada P, Atieli F, Ndenga B, Githure J, et al. Topography and malaria transmission heterogeneity in western Kenya highlands: prospects for focal vector control. Malar J. 2006;5:107 pubmed
    ..The higher variability in blood parasite densities and their low correlation with age in children living at the hilltop suggests a lower stability of transmission than at the mid-hill and valley bottom. ..
  2. Grover Kopec E, Kawano M, Klaver R, Blumenthal B, Ceccato P, Connor S. An online operational rainfall-monitoring resource for epidemic malaria early warning systems in Africa. Malar J. 2005;4:6 pubmed
    ..These resources are available at no cost to the user and are updated on a routine basis. ..
  3. Koffi M, de Meeus T, Bucheton B, Solano P, Camara M, Kaba D, et al. Population genetics of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, the agent of sleeping sickness in Western Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106:209-14 pubmed publisher
    ..b. gambiense group 1 is most likely a strictly clonally reproducing organism. ..
  4. Cook Mozaffari P, Newton R, Beral V, Burkitt D. The geographical distribution of Kaposi's sarcoma and of lymphomas in Africa before the AIDS epidemic. Br J Cancer. 1998;78:1521-8 pubmed
  5. Muhe L, Oljira B, Degefu H, Enquesellassie F, Weber M. Clinical algorithm for malaria during low and high transmission seasons. Arch Dis Child. 1999;81:216-20 pubmed
    ..To assess the proportion of children with febrile disease who suffer from malaria and to identify clinical signs and symptoms that predict malaria during low and high transmission seasons...
  6. Strickland M, Siffel C, Gardner B, Berzen A, Correa A. Quantifying geocode location error using GIS methods. Environ Health. 2007;6:10 pubmed
    ..3%, depending upon the county and geocoding agency. Geocode location uncertainty can be estimated using tax parcel databases in a GIS. This approach is a viable alternative to global positioning system field validation of geocodes. ..
  7. Rezaeian M, Dunn G, St Leger S, Appleby L. Geographical epidemiology, spatial analysis and geographical information systems: a multidisciplinary glossary. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007;61:98-102 pubmed
    ..We also discuss the rationale for geographical epidemiology and specific techniques such as disease clustering, disease mapping, ecological analyses, geographical information systems and global positioning systems. ..
  8. Huang L, Pickle L, Stinchcomb D, Feuer E. Detection of spatial clusters: application to cancer survival as a continuous outcome. Epidemiology. 2007;18:73-87 pubmed
    ..This article illustrates a new way to understand survival patterns that may point to health disparities in terms of diagnosis and treatment patterns. ..
  9. Balls M, Bødker R, Thomas C, Kisinza W, Msangeni H, Lindsay S. Effect of topography on the risk of malaria infection in the Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2004;98:400-8 pubmed
    ..This novel approach illustrates how topography could help identify local areas prone to epidemics in the African highlands. ..

More Information


  1. Kabatereine N, Brooker S, Tukahebwa E, Kazibwe F, Onapa A. Epidemiology and geography of Schistosoma mansoni in Uganda: implications for planning control. Trop Med Int Health. 2004;9:372-80 pubmed
    ..The results are discussed in reference to the ecology of infection and provide an epidemiological framework for the design and implementation of control efforts underway in Uganda. ..
  2. Gemperli A, Sogoba N, Fondjo E, Mabaso M, Bagayoko M, Briët O, et al. Mapping malaria transmission in West and Central Africa. Trop Med Int Health. 2006;11:1032-46 pubmed
    ..The consequent uncertainties indicate zones where further survey data are needed most urgently. Malaria risk maps based on compilations of heterogeneous survey data are highly sensitive to the analytical methodology. ..
  3. Thomson M, Connor S, Milligan P, Flasse S. The ecology of malaria--as seen from Earth-observation satellites. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1996;90:243-64 pubmed
  4. Mather F, Chen V, Morgan L, Correa C, Shaffer J, Srivastav S, et al. Hierarchical modeling and other spatial analyses in prostate cancer incidence data. Am J Prev Med. 2006;30:S88-100 pubmed
    ..HGLM models and software are available to control for covariates and for unstructured and spatially structured variability that may confound spatial variability patterns. ..
  5. Zhan F, Brender J, De Lima I, Suarez L, Langlois P. Match rate and positional accuracy of two geocoding methods for epidemiologic research. Ann Epidemiol. 2006;16:842-9 pubmed
    ..1. Although the Centrus GeoCoder has better positional accuracy, both methods give similar results in classifying maternal addresses within 1500 m of toxic release inventory facilities when distance is used as a proxy of exposure. ..
  6. Herbreteau V, Salem G, Souris M, Hugot J, Gonzalez J. Sizing up human health through remote sensing: uses and misuses. Parassitologia. 2005;47:63-79 pubmed
    ..A discussion covering the potential of RS for human health is developed here to assist health scientists deal with spatial and temporal dynamics of health, by finding the most relevant data and analysis procedures. ..
  7. Oliver M, Smith E, Siadaty M, Hauck F, Pickle L. Spatial analysis of prostate cancer incidence and race in Virginia, 1990-1999. Am J Prev Med. 2006;30:S67-76 pubmed
    ..Because of the large differences between tract and county level results, the time and expense of obtaining data geocoded to the tract level seems worthwhile. ..
  8. Clements A, Lwambo N, Blair L, Nyandindi U, Kaatano G, Kinung hi S, et al. Bayesian spatial analysis and disease mapping: tools to enhance planning and implementation of a schistosomiasis control programme in Tanzania. Trop Med Int Health. 2006;11:490-503 pubmed
    ..To predict the spatial distributions of Schistosoma haematobium and S. mansoni infections to assist planning the implementation of mass distribution of praziquantel as part of an on-going national control programme in Tanzania...
  9. Grubesic T, Matisziw T. On the use of ZIP codes and ZIP code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) for the spatial analysis of epidemiological data. Int J Health Geogr. 2006;5:58 pubmed
    ..While ZCTAs can be problematic, topological corrections are easily implemented in a geographic information system to remedy erroneous aggregation effects. ..
  10. Abeku T. Response to malaria epidemics in Africa. Emerg Infect Dis. 2007;13:681-6 pubmed
    ..Vector control measures are useful if abnormal transmission is highly likely and if they can be selectively implemented at the early stages of an outbreak. ..
  11. Jambou R, Ranaivo L, Raharimalala L, Randrianaivo J, Rakotomanana F, Modiano D, et al. Malaria in the highlands of Madagascar after five years of indoor house spraying of DDT. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2001;95:14-8 pubmed
    ..Our study suggests that this strategy should be reinforced by the spraying of DDT in the marginal zones in order to consolidate the results obtained at higher altitudes. ..
  12. Omumbo J, Hay S, Snow R, Tatem A, Rogers D. Modelling malaria risk in East Africa at high-spatial resolution. Trop Med Int Health. 2005;10:557-66 pubmed
    ..These deficiencies will only be addressed by more random, intensive small areas studies of empirical estimates of PR. ..
  13. Brooker S, Clements A. Spatial heterogeneity of parasite co-infection: Determinants and geostatistical prediction at regional scales. Int J Parasitol. 2009;39:591-7 pubmed publisher
  14. Holt J. The topography of poverty in the United States: a spatial analysis using county-level data from the Community Health Status Indicators project. Prev Chronic Dis. 2007;4:A111 pubmed
    ..The spatial analytic techniques are broadly applicable to socioeconomic and health-related data and can provide important information about the spatial structure of datasets, which is important for choosing appropriate analysis methods. ..
  15. Rogerson P, Sinha G, Han D. Recent changes in the spatial pattern of prostate cancer in the U.S. Am J Prev Med. 2006;30:S50-9 pubmed
    ..S. Recent declines in Florida and southern California may have contributed to recent increases in spatial concentration of prostate cancer mortality, and may possibly be associated with realized benefits from screening programs. ..
  16. Abe T, Martin I, Roche L. Clusters of census tracts with high proportions of men with distant-stage prostate cancer incidence in New Jersey, 1995 to 1999. Am J Prev Med. 2006;30:S60-6 pubmed
    ..Spatial analyses of late stage prostate cancer cases can provide additional insights into less favorable outcomes for disadvantaged populations and racial and ethnic minorities. ..
  17. Arboleda S, Gorla D, Porcasi X, Saldana A, Calzada J, Jaramillo O N. Development of a geographical distribution model of Rhodnius pallescens Barber, 1932 using environmental data recorded by remote sensing. Infect Genet Evol. 2009;9:441-8 pubmed publisher
    ..pallescens and related species. This methodology can be very useful to make critical decisions for vectorial surveillance and control of Chagas disease vectors. ..
  18. Kuo C, Fukui H. Geographical structures and the cholera epidemic in modern Japan: Fukushima prefecture in 1882 and 1895. Int J Health Geogr. 2007;6:25 pubmed
    ..By highlighting the dynamics of regional reorganization, our findings can be used to better understand the formation of an urban hierarchy in late nineteenth century Japan. ..
  19. Nguyen G, LaVeist T, Gearhart S, Bayless T, Brant S. Racial and geographic variations in colectomy rates among hospitalized ulcerative colitis patients. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006;4:1507-1513 pubmed
    ..The rate of colectomy among hospitalized UC patients varies significantly by race and geographic location. Further studies are needed to elucidate the social and biologic underpinnings of these variations. ..
  20. Erdogan M, Gursoy A, Erdogan G. Natural course of benign thyroid nodules in a moderately iodine-deficient area. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2006;65:767-71 pubmed
    ..One-third of benign thyroid nodules showed continuous growth, one-third remained unchanged, and the other third decreased in size. ..
  21. Chen J, Jiang H, Tracy B, Zielinski J. A preliminary radon map for Canada according to health region. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2008;130:92-4 pubmed publisher
    ..Here a preliminary radon map for Canada is presented, based on historical radon measurements collected in 6016 locations across Canada with the health region as the basic geographic units. ..
  22. DeChello L, Sheehan T. The geographic distribution of melanoma incidence in Massachusetts, adjusted for covariates. Int J Health Geogr. 2006;5:31 pubmed
    ..These surveillance findings can be a sound starting point for the shoe-leather epidemiologist. ..
  23. Kalluri S, Gilruth P, Rogers D, Szczur M. Surveillance of arthropod vector-borne infectious diseases using remote sensing techniques: a review. PLoS Pathog. 2007;3:1361-71 pubmed
    ..Future improvements in remote sensing applications in epidemiology are also discussed. ..
  24. Hooper M. Is sunlight an aetiological agent in the genesis of retinoblastoma?. Br J Cancer. 1999;79:1273-6 pubmed
    ..This supports the hypothesis that sunlight plays a role in retinoblastoma formation. ..
  25. Ghebreyesus T, Haile M, Witten K, Getachew A, Yohannes M, Lindsay S, et al. Household risk factors for malaria among children in the Ethiopian highlands. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2000;94:17-21 pubmed
  26. Sekikawa A, Satoh T, Hayakawa T, Ueshima H, Kuller L. Coronary heart disease mortality among men aged 35-44 years by prefecture in Japan in 1995-1999 compared with that among white men aged 35-44 by state in the United States in 1995-1998: vital statistics data in recent birth cohort. Jpn Circ J. 2001;65:887-92 pubmed
  27. Meliker J, Slotnick M, Avruskin G, Kaufmann A, Fedewa S, Goovaerts P, et al. Individual lifetime exposure to inorganic arsenic using a space-time information system. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2007;80:184-97 pubmed
    ..These results demonstrate the potential of STIS as a useful tool for calculating continuous estimates of adult lifetime exposure to arsenic or other environmental contaminants for application in exposure and risk assessment. ..
  28. Ferrer G, Muniz Diaz E, Aluja M, Arilla M, Martinez C, Nogues R, et al. Analysis of human platelet antigen systems in a Moroccan Berber population. Transfus Med. 2002;12:49-54 pubmed
    ..The Berbers have the highest frequency for the 1b, 2b and 5b alleles of all the populations reported to date and also the lowest frequency for the 3b allele. ..
  29. Andersson N, Mitchell S. Epidemiological geomatics in evaluation of mine risk education in Afghanistan: introducing population weighted raster maps. Int J Health Geogr. 2006;5:1 pubmed
    ..Based on a lattice of local site-specific predictions, each cluster being a small universe, the "average" prediction was immediately interpretable without losing the spatial complexity. ..
  30. Ndyomugyenyi R. The burden of onchocerciasis in Uganda. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1998;92 Suppl 1:S133-7 pubmed
    ..It seems likely that it would be best to give Mectizan at intervals of < 1 year and that such frequent treatment only becomes feasible if Mectizan distribution is community-directed. ..
  31. Muirhead C. Radiation and noncancer diseases. Radiat Res. 2004;161:748 pubmed
  32. Adda S, Anglesio L, D Amore G, Mantovan M, Menegolli M. Ray-tracing techniques to assess the electromagnetic field radiated by radio base stations: application and experimental validation in an urban environment. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2004;111:339-42 pubmed
    ..Differences between the calculated and measured results remain below 1.5 dB, with a mean value of 1 dB. ..
  33. Escaramis G, Carrasco J, Ascaso C. Detection of significant disease risks using a spatial conditional autoregressive model. Biometrics. 2008;64:1043-53 pubmed publisher
    ..This evaluation reveals a close similarity between the solutions provided by the method proposed here and those of its fully Bayesian counterpart. ..
  34. Kurella Tamura M, Wadley V, Yaffe K, McClure L, Howard G, Go R, et al. Kidney function and cognitive impairment in US adults: the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study. Am J Kidney Dis. 2008;52:227-34 pubmed publisher
    ..The prevalence of impairment appears to increase early in the course of kidney disease; therefore, screening for impairment should be considered in all adults with CKD. ..
  35. Protopopoff N, Van Bortel W, Marcotty T, van Herp M, Maes P, Baza D, et al. Spatial targeted vector control is able to reduce malaria prevalence in the highlands of Burundi. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2008;79:12-8 pubmed
    ..Investment in targeted and regular control measures associated with effective case management should be able to control malaria in the highlands. ..
  36. Mitman G, Numbers R. From miasma to asthma: the changing fortunes of medical geography in America. Hist Philos Life Sci. 2003;25:391-412 pubmed
    ..And although bacteriology quickly eclipsed medical geography in the world of medicine, place remained an important consideration in treating asthma (and allergies generally) throughout the post-bacteriological period. ..
  37. Schuurman N, Bell N, Dunn J, Oliver L. Deprivation indices, population health and geography: an evaluation of the spatial effectiveness of indices at multiple scales. J Urban Health. 2007;84:591-603 pubmed
    ..The results of our analysis confirm the influence of spatial extent and scale on mapping population health-with potential implications for health policy implementation and resource distribution. ..
  38. Bukowski J, Somers G, Bryanton J. Agricultural contamination of groundwater as a possible risk factor for growth restriction or prematurity. J Occup Environ Med. 2001;43:377-83 pubmed
    ..Nevertheless, these risks must be interpreted cautiously because of the ecological nature of this exposure metric. An investigation using nitrate levels for individual study subjects is needed to confirm this association. ..
  39. Russell M. Transuranic isotopes and 90Sr in attic dust in the vicinity of two nuclear establishments in northern Germany. Health Phys. 2004;86:96-7; author reply 97 pubmed
  40. Pfaff J, Bernert R, Hollar D, Witte T, Merrill K, Pettit J, et al. Birth month and depressive and suicidal symptoms in an elderly Australian sample born in the Southern or Northern Hemisphere. Psychiatry Res. 2006;144:217-9 pubmed
    ..Date and country of birth were recorded for each participant. Those in utero during the Northern or Southern Hemisphere flu peak were expected to show the highest depressive and suicidal symptoms. Hypotheses were partially supported. ..
  41. Muller I, Betuela I, Hide R. Regional patterns of birthweights in Papua New Guinea in relation to diet, environment and socio-economic factors. Ann Hum Biol. 2002;29:74-88 pubmed
    ..Besides improving maternal health, interventions for improving birthweights in PNG should therefore aim at strengthening the economic base of rural populations and promote the cultivation and consumption of high quality foods. ..
  42. Feldmann H, Czub M, Jones S, Dick D, Garbutt M, Grolla A, et al. Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Med Microbiol Immunol. 2002;191:63-74 pubmed
    ..Preparedness for known and unknown infectious diseases will be a top priority for our public health systems in the beginning of the millennium. ..
  43. Michalak E, Lam R. Seasonal affective disorder: the latitude hypothesis revisited. Can J Psychiatry. 2002;47:787-8 pubmed
  44. Pollack C, Armstrong K. The geographic accessibility of retail clinics for underserved populations. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:945-9; discussion 950-3 pubmed publisher
    ..Retail clinics are currently located in more advantaged neighborhoods, which may make them less accessible for those most in need. ..
  45. Trautmann C, Gabrio T, Dill I, Weidner U, Baudisch C. [Background concentrations of molds in air. Determination of mold concentrations in dwellings without known mold infestations in three parts of Germany]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2005;48:12-20 pubmed
    ..The results are discussed comparing the assessment proposals of various authors, and a new assessment proposal is described. ..
  46. Tong S, Hu W, Nicholls N, Dale P, Mackenzie J, Patz J, et al. Climatic, high tide and vector variables and the transmission of Ross River virus. Intern Med J. 2005;35:677-80 pubmed
    ..The results of the present study might facilitate the development of early warning systems for reducing the incidence of this wide-spread disease in Australia and other Pacific island nations...
  47. Uthman O. Spatial and temporal variations in incidence of tuberculosis in Africa, 1991 to 2005. World Health Popul. 2008;10:5-15 pubmed
    ..This information is important in guiding decisions on tuberculosis control strategies. ..
  48. Werneck G. Georeferenced data in epidemiologic research. Cien Saude Colet. 2008;13:1753-66 pubmed
  49. Wallace R, Fitch W. Influenza A H5N1 immigration is filtered out at some international borders. PLoS ONE. 2008;3:e1697 pubmed publisher
    ..Pathogen dispersal, the functional relationships among disease ecologies across localities, and the efficacy of control efforts can also be inferred, all from viral genetic sequences alone. ..
  50. Margai F. Geographic targeting of risk zones for childhood stunting and related health outcomes in Burkina Faso. World Health Popul. 2007;9:64-82 pubmed
  51. Grebaut P, Bodo J, Assona A, Foumane Ngane V, Njiokou F, Ollivier G, et al. [Risk factors for human African trypanosomiasis in the Bipindi region of Cameroon]. Med Trop (Mars). 2001;61:377-83 pubmed
    ..Interpretation of this finding in the light of local geographical features and current entomological data suggests that the higher risk in hunters is linked to the presence of a perennial vector population and absence of domestic pigs. ..
  52. Souza W, Ximenes R, Albuquerque M, Lapa T, Portugal J, Lima M, et al. The use of socioeconomic factors in mapping tuberculosis risk areas in a city of northeastern Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2000;8:403-10 pubmed
    ..We recommend follow-up that would include treating acid-fast bacilli smear-positive pulmonary TB cases, tracing of these persons' contacts, and monitoring of multidrug-resistant cases, all in coordination with local health services. ..
  53. Roumy V, Garcia Pizango G, Gutierrez Choquevilca A, Ruiz L, Jullian V, Winterton P, et al. Amazonian plants from Peru used by Quechua and Mestizo to treat malaria with evaluation of their activity. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;112:482-9 pubmed
    ..The results give scientific validation to the traditional medical knowledge of Quechua and Mestizo populations from Loreto and confirm a source of potentially active plants. ..