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Cholera Threat to Humans in Ghana Is Influenced by Both Global and Regional Climatic Variability

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Abstract

Cholera, an acute diarrheal illness, is caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae after ingestion of contaminated water or food. The disease had disappeared from most of the developed countries in the last 50 years, but cholera epidemics remain a major public health problem in many developing countries, most often localized in tropical areas. Cholera is an infectious disease for which a relationship between disease temporal patterns and climate has been demonstrated, but only in an endemic context and for local areas of Asia and South America. Until now, similar studies have not been done in an epidemic context, on the African continent, although the largest number of cholera cases has been reported for those countries by the World Health Organization. The wavelet method was used in order to explore periodicity in (i) a long-time monthly cholera incidence in Ghana, West Africa, (ii) proxy environmental variables, and (iii) climatic indices time series, from 1975 to 1995. Cross-analysis were done to explore links between these time series, i.e., between cholera and climate. Results showed strong statistical association (coherency) from the end of the 1980s, between cholera outbreak resurgences in Ghana and the climatic/environmental parameters under scrutiny. Further examination of the existence of common spatial and temporal patterns in infectious diseases on the continent of Africa will permit development of more effective treatment of disease.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a “Gestion et Impacts du Changement Climatique” grant (CHOLCLIM) from the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Resources (FMESR). G.C.M. thanks the French authorities and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) for PhD fellowships. B.C. is supported by the University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris VI. J-F.G. thanks both the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

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Correspondence to Guillaume Constantin de Magny.

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Constantin de Magny, G., Cazelles, B. & Guégan, JF. Cholera Threat to Humans in Ghana Is Influenced by Both Global and Regional Climatic Variability. EcoHealth 3, 223–231 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-006-0061-5

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