Infectious disease trivia:”Ground Portrait” and Prevention of Infectious Diseases

In the criminal psychological portrait, there is a method to predict the behavior pattern of a criminal by…

Infectious disease trivia:"Ground Portrait" and Prevention of Infectious Diseases
Infectious disease trivia:”Ground Portrait” and Prevention of Infectious Diseases

In the criminal psychological portrait, there is a method to predict the behavior pattern of a criminal by using the criminal’s place of crime instead of appearance and behavior characteristics. This method is called geographic portraiture. Not only is it more objective than forensic sketches, but it is not disturbed by criminals’ crimes.


The basic steps of geographic portraits are: take the coordinates of each crime scene as the center, draw two concentric circles, and then find the area where the most circles intersect, that is, the area where the criminal is most likely to live. What’s more interesting is that geographic portraits can be used not only in criminal investigation, but also in the field of prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Because the spread of infectious diseases also basically follows the principle of geographic portraits, the closer to the source, the smaller the area of ​​infection, and the fewer the infectors under the condition of constant population density; the further away from the source, the smaller the probability of contact with the source of infection.

The biologist Steven C Le Comber of the University of London has used the method of geographic portraiture to analyze and find the source of malaria transmission in Cairo from 2001 to 2004. However, geographic portraits are not a panacea in the prevention and control of infectious diseases, and they are powerless for infectious diseases that have the ability to reinfect themselves (that is, reinfected by infected people).

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