Climate Influences on Meningitis Incidence in Northwest Nigeria

Authors: Auwal F. Abdussalam et al.

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/WCAS-D-13-00004.1

Discipline: Meteorology/Epidemiology

Hazard of Interest: Meningitis, Climate Change

Methods: Quantitative, Generalized Additive Model

Key Research Issues:  Meningitis remains a major health burden throughout Sahelian Africa, especially in heavily-populated northwest Nigeria with a higher incidence rate recorded annually. Several studies have established that cases exhibit sensitivity to intra- and inter-annual climate variability, peaking during the hot and dry boreal spring months. This encourages the need of using both climatic and socioeconomic information for the possible prediction of the disease with a time lead that will enable authorities to prepare well.

Key Research Findings: Temperature, relative humidity and dustiness appeared to be the most important climatic variables in explaining and predicting disease cases. Accounting for social factors (though albeit not specifically) explains more of the monthly variability of meningitis compared to those models that do not account for the unobserved factors. The skill of a model version with all explanatory variables lagged by 1-month suggest the potential to predict meningitis cases in northwest Nigeria up to a month in advance to aid decision makers.