On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
S. Afr. j. sci. vol.103 n.1-2 Pretoria Jan./Feb. 2007
M.R. JuryI, II; A.D. KanembaIII
IGeography Department, University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa 3886, South Africa.
IICurrent affiliation: University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico 00681, U.S.A.
IIITanzanian Meteorological Agency, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Malaria is a major health problem in southeastern Africa. In this study, we explore relationships between malaria and regional climate. Malaria incidence data from the eastern border of South Africa and Swaziland over a 33-year period were de-trended and used to identify epidemics. Composite weather maps were then constructed for seasons with high and low malaria incidence and evaluated. Surface-air temperature rose over the east coast during malaria epidemics and rainfall doubled over a large area including Swaziland, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique. Remote climatic signals that anticipated malaria epidemics were found in composite analyses, and a statistical model was developed for prediction. Upper-level winds over the Western Pacific were found to predict 57% of malaria variance at a lead time of 6 months.
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Received 14 October 2005.
Accepted 6 February 2007.