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Bayesian modelling of the effect of climate on malaria in Burundi

DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-9-114

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This paper investigates the effects of climate on malaria in Burundi. For the period 1996-2007, real monthly data on both malaria epidemiology and climate in the area of Burundi are described and analysed. From this analysis, a mathematical model is derived and proposed to assess which variables significantly influence malaria incidences in Burundi. The proposed modelling is based on both generalized linear models (GLM) and generalized additive mixed models (GAMM). The modelling is fully Bayesian and inference is carried out by Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques.The results obtained from the proposed models are discussed and it is found that malaria incidence in a given month in Burundi is strongly positively associated with the minimum temperature of the previous month. In contrast, it is found that rainfall and maximum temperature in a given month have a possible negative effect on malaria incidence of the same month.This study has exploited available real monthly data on malaria and climate over 12 years in Burundi to derive and propose a regression modelling to assess climatic factors that are associated with monthly malaria incidence. The results obtained from the proposed models suggest a strong positive association between malaria incidence in a given month and the minimum temperature (night temperature) of the previous month. An open question is, therefore, how to cope with high temperatures at night.In Burundi, malaria is a major public health issue in terms of both morbidity and mortality with around 2.5 million clinical cases and more than 15,000 deaths each year. During the last decade, for example, malaria cases increased from 550,000 cases in 1991 to 2.8 million in 2001 in a total population estimated at 7 million [1]. In 2001, Burundi was the country most affected by malaria in the world [2]. Malaria is the single main cause of mortality in pregnant women and children below five years of age. Malaria continues to ravage millions of rural Burun

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