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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Research project: The UK Rapid Inquiry Facility (RIF) - Dormant - Dormant

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Reports of potentially raised rates of disease around environmental sources or in specific areas can cause great public anxiety and need to be handled efficiently and effectively by the authorities concerned.

A common part of the response to such reports is to use routinely collected statistics to establish whether rates of the disease are higher than would be expected based on the population at risk and on a reference set of rates. The UK Rapid Inquiry Facility (RIF) was developed by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) in order to speed up this resource intensive part of the investigation process.

The RIF is able, very rapidly, to generate relative risks for any health outcome held on the SAHSU database, for specified age and year ranges, for any geographical area (based on enumeration districts), within Great Britain. It also produces unsmoothed and smoothed maps of disease rates, together with maps showing the demographic, socio-economic, environmental and geographical characteristics of the area.

Read more about the RIF in:
Aylin P, Maheswaran R, Wakefield J, Cockings S, Jarup L, Arnold R, Wheeler G, Elliott P, A national facility for small area disease mapping and rapid initial assessment of apparent disease clusters around a point source: the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit. Journal of Public Health Medicine, 21 (3), 1999, 289-298.

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