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Spatial epidemiology and infectious diseases

Guest Editor: Prof Gerardo Chowell

New Content ItemImprovements in our understanding of the spatial-temporal variation in the spread of infectious diseases could lead to development of innovative strategies, which would ameliorate their impact on morbidity and mortality worldwide. Quantitative approaches that rely on mathematical models and methodology from the field of spatial epidemiology* are being increasingly used to address questions relating to the geographic distribution of infectious diseases and the design of control strategies.

We are seeking submissions of original quantitative research articles on influenza, cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, measles, Zika virus, Ebola virus disease, among others, that present significant insights into one or more of the following:

  • Explaining spatial patterns of infectious diseases through quantitative analyses that make use of spatially resolved socio-demographic and epidemiological datasets;
  • Understanding/predicting spatio-temporal transmission dynamics;
  • Predicting the impact of control interventions that are driven by geographical factors;
  • Designing/evaluating optimal resource allocation strategies that incorporate a spatial component;
  • Generating cost-effectiveness analyses that incorporate a spatial component;
  • Analysing inequities in healthcare based on geography.

We are particularly interested in papers focusing on geostatistical analyses of data, and transmission or economic models. 

We would welcome direct submission of original research that meets the above criteria – please submit directly to BMC Medicine stating in your cover letter that you are targeting the spatial epidemiology collection. Alternatively, you can email your pre-submission queries to

Gerardo Chowell provided guidance on scope of this article collection and advised on commissioned content, but was not involved in editorial decision-making on papers submitted. The responsibility for all final editorial decisions was with the Chief Editor.

* Spatial epidemiology is the description and analysis of geographic variations in disease with respect to demographic, environmental, behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic, and infectious risk factors.” [Elliott P, Wartenberg D. Spatial Epidemiology: Current Approaches and Future Challenges. Environ Health Perspect. 2004; 112(9): 998–1006.]

  1. Tuberculosis (TB) control efforts are hampered by an imperfect understanding of TB epidemiology. The true age distribution of disease is unknown because a large proportion of individuals with active TB remain ...

    Authors: Romain Ragonnet, James M. Trauer, Nicholas Geard, Nick Scott and Emma S. McBryde
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2019 17:208
  2. Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes reduce dengue virus transmission, and city-wide releases in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, are showing promising entomological results. Accurate estimates of the burden of dengue, its s...

    Authors: Kathleen M. O’Reilly, Emilie Hendrickx, Dinar D. Kharisma, Nandyan N. Wilastonegoro, Lauren B. Carrington, Iqbal R. F. Elyazar, Adam J. Kucharski, Rachel Lowe, Stefan Flasche, David M. Pigott, Robert C. Reiner Jr, W. John Edmunds, Simon I. Hay, Laith Yakob, Donald S. Shepard and Oliver J. Brady
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2019 17:172
  3. Knowledge of HIV-1 molecular transmission clusters (MTCs) is important, especially in large-scale datasets, for designing prevention programmes and public health intervention strategies. We used a large-scale ...

    Authors: Dimitrios Paraskevis, Apostolos Beloukas, Kostantinos Stasinos, Nikos Pantazis, Carmen de Mendoza, Norbert Bannert, Laurence Meyer, Robert Zangerle, John Gill, Maria Prins, Antonella d’Arminio Montforte, Anne-Marte Bakken Kran, Kholoud Porter and Giota Touloumi
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2019 17:4
  4. Malaria transmission is highly heterogeneous through time and space, and mapping of this heterogeneity is necessary to better understand local dynamics. New targeted policies are needed as numerous countries h...

    Authors: Jordi Landier, Stanislas Rebaudet, Renaud Piarroux and Jean Gaudart
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:226

    The original article was published in Malaria Journal 2018 17:340

  5. Spatial epidemiology is a rapidly advancing field, pushing our abilities to measure, monitor and map pathogens at increasingly finer spatiotemporal scales. However, these scales often do not align with the abi...

    Authors: Andrew J. Tatem
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:209
  6. Local mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission has been reported in two counties in the contiguous United States (US), prompting the issuance of travel, prevention, and testing guidance across the contigu...

    Authors: Kaiyuan Sun, Qian Zhang, Ana Pastore-Piontti, Matteo Chinazzi, Dina Mistry, Natalie E Dean, Diana Patricia Rojas, Stefano Merler, Piero Poletti, Luca Rossi, M Elizabeth Halloran, Ira M Longini Jr and Alessandro Vespignani
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:195
  7. Tuberculosis (TB) transmission often occurs within a household or community, leading to heterogeneous spatial patterns. However, apparent spatial clustering of TB could reflect ongoing transmission or co-locat...

    Authors: Debebe Shaweno, Malancha Karmakar, Kefyalew Addis Alene, Romain Ragonnet, Archie CA Clements, James M. Trauer, Justin T. Denholm and Emma S. McBryde
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:193
  8. Recent global progress in scaling up malaria control interventions has revived the goal of complete elimination in many countries. Decreasing transmission intensity generally leads to increasingly patchy spati...

    Authors: Amy Wesolowski, Aimee R Taylor, Hsiao-Han Chang, Robert Verity, Sofonias Tessema, Jeffrey A Bailey, T Alex Perkins, Daniel E Neafsey, Bryan Greenhouse and Caroline O Buckee
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:190

    The Correction to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2018 16:241

  9. A sequence of annual measles epidemics has been observed from January 2013 to April 2017 in the South West Shoa Zone of the Oromia Region, Ethiopia. We aimed at estimating the burden of disease in the affected...

    Authors: Piero Poletti, Stefano Parlamento, Tafarraa Fayyisaa, Rattaa Feyyiss, Marta Lusiani, Ademe Tsegaye, Giulia Segafredo, Giovanni Putoto, Fabio Manenti and Stefano Merler
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:177
  10. Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region in 2013, with serious implications for population health in the region. In 2016, the World Health Organization declared the ZIKV outbre...

    Authors: Kathleen M. O’Reilly, Rachel Lowe, W. John Edmunds, Philippe Mayaud, Adam Kucharski, Rosalind M. Eggo, Sebastian Funk, Deepit Bhatia, Kamran Khan, Moritz U. G. Kraemer, Annelies Wilder-Smith, Laura C. Rodrigues, Patricia Brasil, Eduardo Massad, Thomas Jaenisch, Simon Cauchemez…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:180
  11. Despite the biological plausibility of hotspots fueling malaria transmission, the evidence to support this concept has been mixed. If transmission spreads from high burden to low burden households in a consist...

    Authors: Gillian H. Stresman, Julia Mwesigwa, Jane Achan, Emanuele Giorgi, Archibald Worwui, Musa Jawara, Gian Luca Di Tanna, Teun Bousema, Jean-Pierre Van Geertruyden, Chris Drakeley and Umberto D’Alessandro
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:160
  12. Brazil has high burdens of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, as previously estimated for the 26 states and the Federal District, as well as high levels of inequality in social and health indicators. We improved the g...

    Authors: Jennifer M. Ross, Nathaniel J. Henry, Laura A. Dwyer-Lindgren, Andrea de Paula Lobo, Fatima Marinho de Souza, Molly H. Biehl, Sarah E. Ray, Robert C. Reiner Jr, Rebecca W. Stubbs, Kirsten E. Wiens, Lucas Earl, Michael J. Kutz, Natalia V. Bhattacharjee, Hmwe H. Kyu, Mohsen Naghavi and Simon I. Hay
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:144
  13. We have previously conducted computer-based tournaments to compare the yield of alternative approaches to deploying mobile HIV testing services in settings where the prevalence of undetected infection may be c...

    Authors: Gregg S. Gonsalves, J. Tyler Copple, Tyler Johnson, A. David Paltiel and Joshua L. Warren
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:155
  14. Mathematical models of transmission dynamics are routinely fitted to epidemiological time series, which must inevitably be aggregated at some spatial scale. Weekly case reports of chikungunya have been made av...

    Authors: Sean M. Moore, Quirine A. ten Bosch, Amir S. Siraj, K. James Soda, Guido España, Alfonso Campo, Sara Gómez, Daniela Salas, Benoit Raybaud, Edward Wenger, Philip Welkhoff and T. Alex Perkins
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:152
  15. Dengue, a vector-borne infectious disease caused by the dengue virus, has spread through tropical and subtropical regions of the world. All four serotypes of dengue viruses are endemic in the equatorial city s...

    Authors: Yirong Chen, Janet Hui Yi Ong, Jayanthi Rajarethinam, Grace Yap, Lee Ching Ng and Alex R. Cook
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:129
  16. Congregate settings may serve as institutional amplifiers of tuberculosis (TB) and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). We analyze spatial, epidemiological, and pathogen genetic data prospectively collec...

    Authors: Joshua L. Warren, Louis Grandjean, David A. J. Moore, Anna Lithgow, Jorge Coronel, Patricia Sheen, Jonathan L. Zelner, Jason R. Andrews and Ted Cohen
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:122
  17. Reliable measures of disease burden over time are necessary to evaluate the impact of interventions and assess sub-national trends in the distribution of infection. Three Malaria Indicator Surveys (MISs) have ...

    Authors: Su Yun Kang, Katherine E. Battle, Harry S. Gibson, Arsène Ratsimbasoa, Milijaona Randrianarivelojosia, Stéphanie Ramboarina, Peter A. Zimmerman, Daniel J. Weiss, Ewan Cameron, Peter W. Gething and Rosalind E. Howes
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:71