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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

(p.144) Nine Disease Clusters
Risk, Chance, and Causation

Michael B. Bracken

Yale University Press

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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