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Potential of environmental models to predict meningitis epidemics in Africa

Thomson, Madeleine C., Molesworth, Anna M., Djingarey, M. H., Yameogo, K. R., Belanger, F. and Cuevas, Luis ORCID: (2006) 'Potential of environmental models to predict meningitis epidemics in Africa'. Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol 11, Issue 6, pp. 781-788.

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OBJECTIVES Meningococcal meningitis is a major public health problem in Africa. This report explores the potential for climate/environmental models to predict the probability of occurrence of meningitis epidemics.
METHODS Time series of meningitis cases by month and district were obtained for Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Togo (536 district-years). Environmental information (1989-1999) for the continent [soil and land-cover type, aerosol index, vegetation greenness (NDVI), cold cloud duration (CCD) and rainfall] was used to develop models to predict the incidence of meningitis. Meningitis incidence, dust, rainfall, NDVI and CCD were analysed as anomalies (mean minus observed value). The models were developed using univariate and stepwise multi-variate linear regression.
RESULTS Anomalies in annual meningitis incidence at district level were related to monthly climate anomalies. Significant relationships were found for both estimates of rainfall and dust in the pre-, post- and epidemic season. While present in all land-cover classes these relationships were strongest in savannah areas.
CONCLUSIONS Predicting epidemics of meningitis could be feasible. To fully develop this potential, we require (a) a better understanding of the epidemiological and environmental phenomena underpinning epidemics and how satellite derived climate proxies reflect conditions on the ground and (b) more extensive epidemiological and environmental datasets. Climate forecasting tools capable of predicting climate variables 3-6 months in advance of an epidemic would increase the lead-time available for control strategies. Our increased capacity for data processing; the recent improvements in meningitis surveillance in preparation for the distribution of the impending conjugate vaccines and the development of other early warning systems for epidemic diseases in Africa, favours the creation of these models.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: epidemics meningococcal meningitis environment climate remote sensing geographic information system africa meningococcal meningitis climate risk
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 100 General works
WA Public Health > WA 105 Epidemiology
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 108 Preventive health services. Preventive medicine. Travel Medicine.
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 525 General works
WA Public Health > Statistics. Surveys > WA 950 Theory or methods of medical statistics. Epidemiologic methods
WC Communicable Diseases > Infection. Bacterial Infections > Bacterial Infections > WC 217 Pneumococcal infections
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Child & Reproductive Health Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Sarah Lewis-Newton
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2011 14:15
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:02


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