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 July 30, 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 July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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