Application of a geographic information system to the tracking and control of an outbreak of shigellosis

Clin Infect Dis. 2000 Sep;31(3):728-33. doi: 10.1086/314050. Epub 2000 Oct 4.


A personal computer-based commercial geographic information system (GIS) was applied to an outbreak of Shigella sonnei infection at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. We used a database consisting of demographic, temporal, and home-address information for all recognized cases of S. sonnei that occurred among health care beneficiaries from 23 May 1997 through 14 August 1997. We imported this database into the GIS, which contained a digitized basemap of the local community. Through simultaneous examination of temporal and spatial distribution of the 59 identified cases of S. sonnei, a focus of infection in a single housing area was identified. Targeted education among residents of the neighborhood in which there was intense transmission was associated with prompt extinction of the epidemic. A GIS offers an efficient and practical way to directly visualize the dynamics of transmission of infectious diseases in the setting of a community outbreak.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Dysentery, Bacillary / epidemiology
  • Dysentery, Bacillary / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Information Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Shigella sonnei / isolation & purification
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents