A comparison of spatial and social clustering of cholera in Matlab, Bangladesh

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Infectious diseases often cluster spatially, but can also cluster socially because they are transmitted within social networks. This study compares spatial and social clustering of cholera in rural Bangladesh. Data include a spatially referenced longitudinal demographic database, which consists of approximately 200,000 people and laboratory-confirmed cholera cases from 1983 to 2003. Matrices are created of kinship ties between households using a complete network design and distance matrices are also created to model spatial relationships. Moran's I statistics are calculated to measure clustering within both social and spatial matrices. The results show that cholera always clusters in space and seldom within social networks. Cholera is transmitted mostly through the local environment rather than through person-to-person contact. Comparing spatial and social network analysis can help improve understanding of disease transmission.

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