Standard Article

Disease Clustering

Environmental Health

  1. Paul Elliott

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vad024

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Elliott, P. 2006. Disease Clustering. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 2.

Author Information

  1. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


In recent years there has been heightened awareness about the possible effects of environmental pollution on health, reflecting an increasing public expectation of a clean and healthy environment. The public and media alike have focused on the possible risks to individuals and their communities from local sources of industrial pollution. These concerns have to some extent been fueled by scientific uncertainties about the health effects of low levels of pollution. All these issues tend to come to the fore when disease excesses (clusters) in the local community are reported or suspected. This article reviews some of the issues affecting the analysis and interpretation of clusters of disease, including examples where evidence of local disease excess is derived from a disease mapping exercise or a point source investigation.