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. 2014 Jun 14;13:21.
doi: 10.1186/1476-072X-13-21.

Natural-focal Diseases: Mapping Experience in Russia

Free PMC article

Natural-focal Diseases: Mapping Experience in Russia

Svetlana M Malkhazova et al. Int J Health Geogr. .
Free PMC article


Background: Natural-focal diseases constitute a serious hazard for human health. Agents and vectors of such diseases belong to natural landscapes. The aim of this study is to identify the diversity and geography of natural-focal diseases in Russia and to develop cartographic approaches for their mapping, including mathematical-cartographical modeling. Russian medico-geographical mapping of natural-focal diseases is highly developed regionally and locally but extremely limited at the national level. To solve this problem, a scientific team of the Faculty of Geography at Lomonosov Moscow State University has developed and implemented a project of a medico-geographical Atlas of Russia "Natural-Focal Diseases".

Methods: The mapping is based on medical statistics data. The Atlas contains a series of maps on disease incidence, long-term dynamics of disease morbidity, etc. In addition, other materials available to the authors were used: mapping of the natural environment, field data, archival materials, analyzed satellite images, etc. The maps are processed using ArcGIS (ESRI) software application. Different methods of rendering of mapped phenomena are used (geographical ranges, diagrams, choropleth maps etc.).

Results: A series of analytical, integrated, and synthetic maps shows disease incidence in the population at both the national and regional levels for the last 15 years. Maps of the mean annual morbidity of certain infections and maps of morbidity dynamics and nosological profiles allow for a detailed analysis of the situation for each of 83 administrative units of the Russian Federation. The degree of epidemic hazard in Russia by natural-focal diseases is reflected in a synthetic medico-geographical map that shows the degree of epidemic risks due to such diseases in Russia and allows one to estimate the risk of disease manifestation in a given region.

Conclusions: This is the first attempt at aggregation and public presentation of diverse and multifaceted information about natural-focal diseases in Russia. Taken in entirety, the maps that have been prepared for the Atlas will enable researchers to evaluate the stability of epidemic manifestation of individual diseases and the susceptibility of a given territory to disease transmission. The results can be used for sanitary monitoring and disease prevention.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Morbidity of tick-borne borreliosis (a map fragment of Russian Federation). The map of the mean annual tick-borne borreliosis morbidity were compiled using the cartogram method and reflect the relative and absolute values for each administrative unit.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Dynamics of tick-borne borreliosis morbidity (1997–2010). The bars attributed to the particular administrative unit (marked by figures from 1 to 83) reflect the dynamics of tick-borne borreliosis morbidity for a time span of 14years. Coloring of bar divisions reflect relative morbidity levels.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Nosological profiles of administrative units (a map fragment of Russian Federation). The map shows the sets of specific natural-focal diseases inherent in particular administrative units of Russia. The data is presented in the form of a matrix showing the presence or absence of a disease in the population for each year for a time span of 11years. The matrices are arranged vertically by nosological units (diseases) and horizontally - by years and they reflect the annual changes in the range of nosoforms in the Russian administrative units.

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