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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Climate teleconnections and recent patterns of human and animal disease outbreaks

item Anyamba, Assaf
item Linthicum, Kenneth - Ken
item Small, Jennifer
item Collins, Kathrine
item Tucker, Compton
item Pak, Edwin
item Britch, Seth
item Eastman, J
item Pinzon, Jorge
item Russell, Kevin

Submitted to: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/21/2011
Publication Date: 1/24/2012
Citation: Anyamba, A., Linthicum, K., Small, J., Collins, K., Tucker, C.J., Pak, E.P., Britch, S.C., Eastman, J.R., Pinzon, J.E., Russell, K. 2012. Climate teleconnections and recent patterns of human and animal disease outbreaks. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 6(1):1-14.

Interpretive Summary: Climate variability that occurs during different years is associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon and regional climatic circulation mechanisms in the equatorial Indian Ocean. This climate variability results in varying rainfall and variations in the ecology of different parts of the world resulting in conditions that are conductive to mosquito transmitted disease outbreaks. We examine this climate phenomenon relative to Rift Valley fever in different countries in Africa and chikungunya in Africa, India and Southeast Asia.

Technical Abstract: Recent clusters of outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases (Rift Valley fever and chikungunya) in Africa and parts of the Indian Ocean islands illustrate how interannual climate variability influences the changing risk patterns of disease outbreaks. Extremes in rainfall (drought and flood) during the period 2004 – 2010 have privileged different disease vectors. Chikungunya outbreaks occurred during the severe drought from late 2004 to 2006 over coastal East Africa and the Indian Ocean islands and the later years India and southeast Asia islands; outbreaks of Rift Valley fever occurred during an excessive rainfall period from 2006- 2007 in East Africa and Sudan, and then in 2008- 2009 in Southern Africa (South Africa and Madagascar). The shift in the outbreak patterns of Rift Valley fever from East Africa to Southern Africa follows a transition of the El Niño / Southern Oscillation phenomena from the warm El Niño phase (2006-2007) to the cold La Niña phase (2007-2009) and associated patterns of variability in the greater Indian Ocean basin that result in the displacement of the center of above normal rainfall from Eastern to Southern Africa. Understanding the background patterns of climate variability both at global and regional scale and there impacts on ecological drivers of vector borne-diseases is critical in long-range planning of appropriate response and mitigation activities. The Understanding such patterns of climate variability offers for opportunities the public health community for early response including early and rapid detection of virus presence, vector control, livestock vaccination and public education to prevent the re-occurrence of epizootic/epidemics in areas that are impacted by droughts and floods through ENSO and associated teleconnections.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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