Indian ocean dipole and rainfall drive a moran effect in east Africa malaria transmission

Luis Fernando Chaves, Akiko Satake, Masahiro Hashizume, Noboru Minakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Patterns of concerted fluctuation in populations-synchrony-can reveal impacts of climatic variability on disease dynamics. We examined whether malaria transmission has been synchronous in an area with a common rainfall regime and sensitive to the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), a global climatic phenomenon affecting weather patterns in East Africa.Methods.We studied malaria synchrony in 5 15-year long (1984-1999) monthly time series that encompass an altitudinal gradient, approximately 1000 m to 2000 m, along Lake Victoria basin. We quantified the association patterns between rainfall and malaria time series at different altitudes and across the altitudinal gradient encompassed by the study locations.Results.We found a positive seasonal association of rainfall with malaria, which decreased with altitude. By contrast, IOD and interannual rainfall impacts on interannual disease cycles increased with altitude. Our analysis revealed a nondecaying synchrony of similar magnitude in both malaria and rainfall, as expected under a Moran effect, supporting a role for climatic variability on malaria epidemic frequency, which might reflect rainfall-mediated changes in mosquito abundance.Conclusions.Synchronous malaria epidemics call for the integration of knowledge on the forcing of malaria transmission by environmental variability to develop robust malaria control and elimination programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1885-1891
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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