Weather variability, tides and Barmah Forest virus disease in the Gladstone region, Australia
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In this study we examined the impact of weather variability and tides on the transmission of Barmah Forest virus (BFV) disease and developed a weather-based forecasting model for BFV disease in the Gladstone region, Australia. We used seasonal autoregressive integrated moving-average (SARIMA) models to determine the contribution of weather variables to BFV transmission after the time-series data of response and explanatory variables were made stationary through seasonal differencing. We obtained data on the monthly counts of BFV cases, weather variables (e.g., mean minimum and maximum temperature, total rainfall, and mean relative humidity), high and low tides, and the population size in the Gladstone region between January 1992 and December 2001 from the Queensland Department of Health, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland Department of Transport, and Australian Bureau of Statistics, respectively. The SARIMA model shows that the 5-month moving average of minimum temperature (b=0.15, p-value<0.001) was statistically significantly and positively associated with BFV disease, whereas high tide in the current month (b=-1.03, p-value=0.04) was statistically significantly and inversely associated with it. However, no significant association was found for other variables. These results may be applied to forecast the occurrence of BFV disease and to use public health resources in BFV control and prevention.
Environmental Health Perspectives