A. Akinbobola and J.Bayo Omotosho
Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria,
Malaria is a major public health problem especially in the tropics with the potential to significantly increase in response to changing weather and climate. This study explored the impact of weather and climate and its variability on the occurrence and transmission of malaria in Akure, the tropical rain forest area of southwest Nigeria. This is investigated by looking at the relationship between rainfall, relative humidity, minimum and maximum temperature, sunshine hours, global and malaria in Akure. This study uses monthly data of seven years (2001-2007) for both meteorological variables and record of reported cases of malaria infection. Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models were used to evaluate the relationship between weather factors and malaria incidence. Of all the models tested, the ARIMA (1, 0, 1) model fits the malaria incidence data best, according to normalized Bayesian information criterion (BIC) and goodness-of-fit criteria. Humidity and rainfall have almost the same trend of association, while the remaining parameters share essentially similar trend, except minimum temperature. Rainfall and humidity have a positive association with malaria incidence at lag of one month, while others have an inverse association. In all, it was found that minimum temperature is not a limiting factor for malaria transmission in this tropical rain forest area.