Mapping Multi-Infectious Disease Risk during El Niño: An Ecosyndemic Approach

Authors: Ivan J Ramirez*, University of Colorado Denver, Jieun Lee, University of Northern Colorado, Sue C Grady, Michigan State University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: El Niño, climate, ecosyndemic, infectious disease; malaria, cholera, GIS, South America, disasters
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


El Niño is a quasi-periodic pattern of climate variability and extremes often associated with hazards and disease. While many studies have examined El Niño’s link to one infectious disease at a time, less is known about El Nino’s impact(s) on several infectious disease outcomes in a population also known as an ecosyndemic. The emergent concept of ecosyndemic describes the overlap of simultaneous disease outbreaks spawned by environmental changes in socially vulnerable places. In this presentation, we explore an approach which can spatially represent multi-infectious disease risk in Piura, Peru at the district-level during the extreme El Nino of 1998. Using GIS and multivariate analysis, descriptive and analytical methodologies were employed to map the overlap of 7 climate-sensitive diseases and construct an ecosyndemic index. As proof of concept, the index was correlated with several indicators of social and disaster vulnerability and applied to another El Niño event (1983). The main findings showed that many districts across Piura faced multi-infectious disease risk over several weeks in the austral summer of 1998. Furthermore, the ecosydemic index in 1998 when compared to 1983 showed a strong positive correlation, demonstrating the potential utility of the index. The study supports public health efforts to develop multi-disease based and interprogrammatic approaches to control and prevention, particularly for climate and poverty-related infections in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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