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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 Feb;84(2):285-91. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0381.

Modeling the relationship between precipitation and malaria incidence in children from a holoendemic area in Ghana.

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Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany; German Forces at Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany.


Climatic factors influence the incidence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria. They modify the abundance of mosquito populations, the length of the extrinsic parasite cycle in the mosquito, the malarial dynamics, and the emergence of epidemics in areas of low endemicity. The objective of this study was to investigate temporal associations between weekly malaria incidence in 1,993 children < 15 years of age and weekly rainfall. A time series analysis was conducted by using cross-correlation function and autoregressive modeling. The regression model showed that the level of rainfall predicted the malaria incidence after a time lag of 9 weeks (mean = 60 days) and after a time lag between one and two weeks. The analyses provide evidence that high-resolution precipitation data can directly predict malaria incidence in a highly endemic area. Such models might enable the development of early warning systems and support intervention measures.

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