Impact of Climate Variability on Infectious Disease in West Africa

Thomson, Madeleine C.; Connor, Stephen J.; Ward, Neil

The importance of infectious disease as a determinant (as well as an outcome) of poverty has recently become a prominent argument for international and national investment in the control of infectious disease, as can be seen in the recently articulated United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Climate variability and land use change have an enormous impact on health in West Africa, and may yet undermine the potential for achieving the MDGs, in certain economic-ecological zones. However, their underlying role in determining the burden of disease in the region on a yearly or decadal basis has never been systematically studied. In order to improve our understanding of the future impacts of climate change, it may be more effective to start by investigating the impact of inter-annual climate variability, and short-term shifts in climate (e.g., decadal), on disease transmission dynamics. This information may inform both current and future policy decisions with regard to prediction, prevention, and management of adverse climate-related health outcomes. This article reviews current knowledge of changes in the epidemiology of infectious diseases associated with climate variability in West Africa over the last 40 years. Selected examples are considered from bacterial (meningococcal meningitis), protozoan (malaria), and filarial (onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis) infections where spatial and temporal disease patterns have been directly influenced by seasonal, interannual, or decadal changes in climate.


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Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
March 13, 2024

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