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Climate Influences on Meningitis Incidence in Northwest Nigeria

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  • 1 School of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • | 2 National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
  • | 3 Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 4 National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
  • | 5 School of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Northwest Nigeria is a region with a high risk of meningitis. In this study, the influence of climate on monthly meningitis incidence was examined. Monthly counts of clinically diagnosed hospital-reported cases of meningitis were collected from three hospitals in northwest Nigeria for the 22-yr period spanning 1990–2011. Generalized additive models and generalized linear models were fitted to aggregated monthly meningitis counts. Explanatory variables included monthly time series of maximum and minimum temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed, sunshine, and dustiness from weather stations nearest to the hospitals, and the number of cases in the previous month. The effects of other unobserved seasonally varying climatic and nonclimatic risk factors that may be related to the disease were collectively accounted for as a flexible monthly varying smooth function of time in the generalized additive models, s(t). Results reveal that the most important explanatory climatic variables are the monthly means of daily maximum temperature, relative humidity, and sunshine with no lag; and dustiness with a 1-month lag. Accounting for s(t) in the generalized additive models explains more of the monthly variability of meningitis compared to those generalized linear models that do not account for the unobserved factors that s(t) represents. The skill score statistics 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.

Corresponding author address: Auwal F. Abdussalam, School of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom. E-mail: g.c.leckebusch@bham.ac.uk

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Abstract

Northwest Nigeria is a region with a high risk of meningitis. In this study, the influence of climate on monthly meningitis incidence was examined. Monthly counts of clinically diagnosed hospital-reported cases of meningitis were collected from three hospitals in northwest Nigeria for the 22-yr period spanning 1990–2011. Generalized additive models and generalized linear models were fitted to aggregated monthly meningitis counts. Explanatory variables included monthly time series of maximum and minimum temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed, sunshine, and dustiness from weather stations nearest to the hospitals, and the number of cases in the previous month. The effects of other unobserved seasonally varying climatic and nonclimatic risk factors that may be related to the disease were collectively accounted for as a flexible monthly varying smooth function of time in the generalized additive models, s(t). Results reveal that the most important explanatory climatic variables are the monthly means of daily maximum temperature, relative humidity, and sunshine with no lag; and dustiness with a 1-month lag. Accounting for s(t) in the generalized additive models explains more of the monthly variability of meningitis compared to those generalized linear models that do not account for the unobserved factors that s(t) represents. The skill score statistics 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.

Corresponding author address: Auwal F. Abdussalam, School of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom. E-mail: g.c.leckebusch@bham.ac.uk

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

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