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Risk, Chance, and CausationInvestigating the Origins and Treatment of Disease$
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Michael B. Bracken

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300188844

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300188844.001.0001

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Disease Clusters

Disease Clusters

Chapter:
(p.144) Nine Disease Clusters
Source:
Risk, Chance, and Causation
Author(s):

Michael B. Bracken

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300188844.003.0009

This chapter discusses disease clusters, such as cancer, and how they appear in the same indiscriminate pattern. The cause of a disease cluster can be occasionally identified, although it is more common for clusters to be the result of the random and uneven distribution of disease spread across the population. A number of clusters disappear upon closer examination because they have been artificially created based on spurious data. To validate a disease cluster, it must first be defined and its scope determined. Disease clusters may occur in time as well as space; a previous unremarkable rate of disease in an area may suddenly appear to increase. The most common strategy for studying a cluster is to follow the disease rate over time, a period of “watchful waiting,” to see if the disease rate declines to background levels.

Keywords:   disease clusters, indiscriminate pattern, spurious data, disease rate, watchful waiting

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