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Variation in disease by time, place, and person: Background and a framework for analysis of genetic and environmental effects 

Variation in disease by time, place, and person: Background and a framework for analysis of genetic and environmental effects
Chapter:
Variation in disease by time, place, and person: Background and a framework for analysis of genetic and environmental effects
Author(s):

Raj S. Bhopal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198739685.003.0003
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date: 21 October 2020

Diseases wax and wane in their population frequency. The underlying reasons are often difficult to detect and may remain a mystery. The principles behind the investigation of clusters, outbreaks, epidemics, and inequalities in both of communicable and non-communicable diseases, are similar. On those occasions when the mystery is solved we tend to gain huge insights, both scientific and practical to help in disease control. Disease variations are often, however, artefactual, and arise from data errors. A systematic approach to the analysis of variation in disease begins by differentiating artefactual change from real change. Real change results from changes in host susceptibility, in the agent’s capacity to cause disease, and in the influence of the environment. The epidemiological challenge is to pinpoint the causal factors.

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