• asthma cases;
  • conditional likelihood;
  • disease subclassification;
  • iteratively reweighted least square;
  • Markov chain Monte Carlo;
  • matched case–control;
  • point source modeling

In this paper, we propose nonlinear distance-odds models investigating elevated odds around point sources of exposure, under a matched case-control design where there are subtypes within cases. We consider models analogous to the polychotomous logit models and adjacent-category logit models for categorical outcomes and extend them to the nonlinear distance-odds context. We consider multiple point sources as well as covariate adjustments. We evaluate maximum likelihood, profile likelihood, iteratively reweighted least squares, and a hierarchical Bayesian approach using Markov chain Monte Carlo techniques under these distance-odds models. We compare these methods using an extensive simulation study and show that with multiple parameters and a nonlinear model, Bayesian methods have advantages in terms of estimation stability, precision, and interpretation. We illustrate the methods by analyzing Medicaid claims data corresponding to the pediatric asthma population in Detroit, Michigan, from 2004 to 2006. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.