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University of Venda (2019)

Meteorological influences on malaria transmission in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Ngwenya, Sandile Blessing

Titre : Meteorological influences on malaria transmission in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Auteur : Ngwenya, Sandile Blessing

Université de soutenance : University of Venda

Grade : Masters of Environmental Sciences in Geography 2019

Semi-arid regions of Africa are prone to epidemics of malaria. Epidemic malaria occurs along the geographical margins of endemic regions, when the equilibrium between the human, parasite and mosquito vector populations are occasionally disturbed by changes in one or more meteorological factors and a sharp but temporary increase in disease incidence results. Monthly rainfall and temperature data from the South African Weather Service and malaria incidence data from Department of Health were used to determine the influence of meteorological variables on malaria transmission in Limpopo from 1998-2014. Meteorological influences on malaria transmission were analyzed using time series analysis techniques. Climate suitability for malaria transmission was determined using MARA distribution model. There are three distinct modes of rainfall variability over Limpopo which can be associated with land falling tropical cyclones, cloud bands and intensity of the Botswana upper high. ENSO and ENSO-Modoki explains about 58% of this variability. Malaria epidemics were identified using a standardized index, where cases greater than two standard deviations from the mean are identified as epidemics. Significant positive correlations between meteorological variables and monthly malaria incidence is observed at least one month lag time, except for rainfall which shows positive correlation at three months lag time. Malaria transmission appears to be strongly influenced by minimum temperature and relative humidity (R = 0.52, p<0.001). A SARIMA (2, 1, 2) (1, 0, 0)12 model fitted with only malaria cases has prediction performance of about 53%. Warm SSTs of the SWIO and Benguela Niño region west of Angola are the dominant predictors of malaria epidemics in Limpopo in the absence of La Niña. Warm SSTs over the equatorial Atlantic and Benguela Niño region results in the relaxation of the St. Helena high thus shifting the rainy weather to south-east Africa. La Niña have been linked with increased malaria cases in south-east Africa. During El Niño when rain bearing systems have migrated east of Madagascar ridging of the St. Helena high may produce conducive conditions for malaria transmission. Anomalously warmer and moist winters preceding the malaria transmission season are likely to allow for high mosquito survival and the availability of the breeding sites thus high population in the beginning of the transmission season hence resulting in increased epidemics.


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