Analysis of the El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation variability and malaria in the Estado Sucre, Venezuela

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Laura Delgado-Petrocelli *
Karenia Córdova
Alberto Camardiel
Víctor H. Aguilar
Denise Hernández
Santiago Ramos
(*) Corresponding Author:
Laura Delgado-Petrocelli | laura.delgado@ciens.ucv.ve

Abstract

The last decade has seen an unprecedented, worldwide acceleration of environmental and climate changes. These processes impact the dynamics of natural systems, which include components associated with human communities such as vector-borne diseases. The dynamics of environmental and climate variables, altered by global change as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, affect the distribution of many tropical diseases. Complex systems, e.g. the El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), in which environmental variables operate synergistically, can provoke the reemergence and emergence of vector-borne diseases at new sites. This research investigated the influence of ENSO events on malaria incidence by determining the relationship between climate variations, expressed as warm, cold and neutral phases, and their relation to the number of malaria cases in some north-eastern municipalities of Venezuela (Estado Sucre) during the period 1990-2000. Significant differences in malaria incidence were found, particularly in the La Niña ENSO phases (cold) of moderate intensity. These findings should be taken into account for surveillance and control in the future as they shed light on important indicators that can lead to reduced vulnerability to malaria.

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