Geographic Information System: A Targeted Approach to Syphilis Elimination




Morrison-Jones, June


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Morrison-Jones, June, Geographic Information System: A Targeted Approach to Syphilis Elimination. Master of Public Health, August 2000, 55 pp., 3 tables, 3 appendices, reference list, 25 titles. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that has long caused a heavy public health and economic burden in the United States. With syphilis rates reaching their lowest recorded levels in the United States, Health officials are calling for an increased effort to eliminate the disease. In the United States, syphilis is also now extremely concentrated geographically, facilitating effective intervention. Most syphilis cases disproportionately affect a small portion of the population. African Americans who live below the poverty level, have limited access to health care, and have a number of social problems are also affected. This study examines the geographic distribution of syphilis and factors associated with syphilis transmission in Dallas County. The study used the techniques of geographic information system, principles of epidemiology, sociocultural linkages (race, ethnicity, and gender) between demographic factors and syphilis, to gain insights into the geographic distribution of syphilis among the affected groups, and intervention strategies for syphilis elimination were developed. These suggestions should assist the Dallas County Health Department in launching an effective syphilis elimination program. Results showed that zip codes with high incidence of cases were generally adjacent to each other. In addition, statistically significant results confirmed that poverty, minority-race ethnicity and geographic core areas are factors associated with the transmission of syphilis.