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Soil Dust Aerosols and Wind as Predictors of Seasonal Meningitis Incidence in Niger

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Pérez García-Pando, Carlos, Stanton, Michelle ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1754-4894, Diggle, Peter J., Trzaska, Sylwia, Miller, Ron L., Perlwitz, Jan P., Baldasano, José María, Cuevas, Emilio, Ceccato, Pietro, Yaka, Pascal and Thomson, Madeleine C. (2014) 'Soil Dust Aerosols and Wind as Predictors of Seasonal Meningitis Incidence in Niger'. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 122, Issue 7, pp. 679-686.

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Abstract

Background: Epidemics of meningococcal meningitis are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa during the dry season, a period when the region is affected by the Harmattan, a dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind blowing from the Sahara into the Gulf of Guinea.

Objectives: We examined the potential of climate-based statistical forecasting models to predict seasonal incidence of meningitis in Niger at both the national and district levels.

Data and methods: We used time series of meningitis incidence from 1986 through 2006 for 38 districts in Niger. We tested models based on data that would be readily available in an operational framework, such as climate and dust, population, and the incidence of early cases before the onset of the meningitis season in January–May. Incidence was used as a proxy for immunological state, susceptibility, and carriage in the population. We compared a range of negative binomial generalized linear models fitted to the meningitis data.

Results: At the national level, a model using early incidence in December and averaged November–December zonal wind provided the best fit (pseudo-R2 = 0.57), with zonal wind having the greatest impact. A model with surface dust concentration as a predictive variable performed indistinguishably well. At the district level, the best spatiotemporal model included zonal wind, dust concentration, early incidence in December, and population density (pseudo-R2 = 0.41).

Conclusions: We showed that wind and dust information and incidence in the early dry season predict part of the year-to-year variability of the seasonal incidence of meningitis at both national and district levels in Niger. Models of this form could provide an early-season alert that wind, dust, and other conditions are potentially conducive to an epidemic.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives
Subjects: WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WC Communicable Diseases > Infection. Bacterial Infections > Bacterial Infections > WC 245 Meningococcal infections
WD Disorders of Systemic, Metabolic or Environmental Origin, etc > Disorders and Injuries of Environmental Origin > WD 600 General works
WL Nervous System > WL 200 Meninges. Blood-brain barrier
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306640
Depositing User: Lynn Roberts-Maloney
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2015 09:33
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:10
URI: http://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/5202

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