Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Criminal profiling technique targets killer diseases

Date:
June 19, 2014
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
A mathematical tool used by the Metropolitan Police and FBI has been adapted by researchers to help control outbreaks of malaria, and has the potential to target other infectious diseases. "The model has potential to identify the source of other infectious diseases as well, and we're now working with public health bodies to develop it further for use with TB, cholera and Legionnaires' disease," one researcher noted.

A mathematical tool used by the Metropolitan Police and FBI has been adapted by researchers at Queen Mary University of London to help control outbreaks of malaria, and has the potential to target other infectious diseases.

In cases of serial crime such as murder or rape, police typically have too many suspects to consider, for example, the Yorkshire Ripper investigation in the UK generated a total of 268,000 names. To help prioritise these investigations, police forces around the world use a technique called geographic profiling, which uses the spatial locations of the crimes to make inferences about the criminal's likely anchor point – usually a home or workplace.

Writing in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution, the team has shown how the maths that underpins geographic profiling can be adapted to target the control of infectious diseases, including malaria. Using data from an outbreak in Cairo, the scientists show how the new model could use the addresses of patients with malaria to locate the breeding sites of the mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

"The experts working in the field had to search almost 300 square km to find seven breeding sites, but our model found the same sites after searching just two thirds of this area," said Dr Steve Le Comber, a senior lecturer at QMUL's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

"In fact our model found five of the seven sites after searching just 10.7 square km. This is potentially important since there is a lot of evidence suggesting that the best way to control outbreaks of malaria is to attack the mosquito breeding sites – but it is incredibly difficult to do in practice."

The mathematical approach takes just minutes on a computer, meaning that the method could be used in the early stages of epidemics, when control efforts are most likely to be effective – potentially stopping outbreaks before they spread.

Dr Le Comber added: "The model has potential to identify the source of other infectious diseases as well, and we're now working with public health bodies to develop it further for use with TB, cholera and Legionnaires' disease."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert Verity, Mark D. Stevenson, D. Kim Rossmo, Richard A. Nichols, Steven C. Le Comber. Spatial targeting of infectious disease control: identifying multiple, unknown sources. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12190

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Criminal profiling technique targets killer diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125421.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2014, June 19). Criminal profiling technique targets killer diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125421.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Criminal profiling technique targets killer diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125421.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins