Statistical methods used in spatio-temporal surveillance of disease are able to identify abnormal clusters of cases but typically do not provide a measure of the degree of association between one case and another. Such a measure would facilitate the assignment of cases to common groups and be useful in outbreak investigations of diseases that potentially share the same source. This paper presents a model-based approach, which on the basis of available location data, provides a measure of the strength of association between cases in space and time and which is used to designate and visualise the most likely groupings of cases. The method was developed as a prospective surveillance tool to signal potential outbreaks, but it may also be used to explore groupings of cases in outbreak investigations. We demonstrate the method by using a historical case series of Legionnaires' disease amongst residents of England and Wales.
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- Legionnaires' disease