Early warning on disease occurrence in Metro Manila using meteorological parameters

Ninio A. Relox
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration, 1424 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.
Tel. : +63-2-922 19 92, Fax: +63-2-926 76 95,
E-mail: laapagasa@pdx.rpnet.com

Early warning on disease occurrence in Metro Manila was developed using three meteorological parameters. The analysis considered cholera, dengue, malaria, measles, meningitis, and typhoid fever including the equivalent weather parameters: temperature, relative humidity and rainfall.

Six years (1990 to 1995) monthly average of the three weather variables used were derived from three weather stations in the study area while the equivalent monthly morbidity totals were obtained from six pilot health centres. Lagged variables of the meteorological parameters were derived in order to determine the time frame at which the disease exhibits response to the weather changes. Graphical and statistical correlations were conducted to explore the underlying epidemiological facts beneficial to health disaster management and mitigation.

The result discovered some predictive capability of the three weather variables for cholera, dengue, malaria, and measles epidemic one to five months before the disease outbreak. For example, by using temperature variable, cholera may be predicted 2 months before the outbreak, while dengue and malaria occurrence may be determined 5 months before the outbreak. However, the relationship between malaria and temperature was negative. Measles occurrence, on the other hand, may be predicted 3 months before the outbreak by using temperature alone.

Regression correlation results also confirm the graphical output showing correlation coefficient of 0.541 for cholera, 0.638 for dengue, 0.643 for malaria, and 0.667 for measles. Typhoid fever and meningitis on the other hand showed no significant correlation with temperature at 5% level of significance.

Based on these results, it is concluded that the three meteorological parameters may be used as early warning indicators of cholera, dengue, malaria, and measles epidemic.