Association between Climatic Variables and Malaria Incidence: A Study in Kokrajhar District of Assam, India

Dilip C. Nath, Dimacha Dwibrang Mwchahary


A favorable climatic condition for transmission of malaria prevails in Kokrajhar district throughout the year. A sizeable part of the district is covered by forest due to which dissimilar dynamics of malaria transmission emerge in forest and non-forest areas. Observed malaria incidence rates of forest area, non-forest area and the whole district over the period 2001-2010 were considered for analyzing temporal correlation between malaria incidence and climatic variables. Associations between the two were examined by Pearson correlation analysis. Cross-correlation tests were performed between pre-whitened series of climatic variable and malaria series. Linear regressions were used to obtain linear relationships between climatic factors and malaria incidence, while weighted least squares regression was used to construct models for explaining and estimating malaria incidence rates. Annual concentration of malaria incidence was analyzed by Markham technique by obtaining seasonal index. Forest area and non-forest area have distinguishable malaria seasons. Relative humidity was positively correlated with forest malaria incidence, while temperature series were negatively correlated with non-forest malaria incidence.

There was higher seasonality of concentration of malaria in the forest area than non-forest area. Significant correlation between annual changes in malaria cases in forest area and temperature was observed (coeff=0.689, p=0.040).

Separate reliable models constructed for forecasting malaria incidence rates based on the combined influence of climatic variables on malaria incidence in different areas of the district were able to explain substantial percentage of observed variability in the incidence rates (R2adj=45.4%, 50.6%, 47.2%; p< .001 for all). There is an intricate association between climatic variables and malaria incidence of the district. Climatic variables influence malaria incidence in forest area and non-forest area in different ways. Rainfall plays a primary role in characterizing malaria incidences in the district. Malaria parasites in the district had adapted to a relative humidity condition higher than the normal range for transmission in India. Instead of individual influence of the climatic variables, their combined influence was utilizable for construction of models.

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Copyright (c) 2012 Dilip C. Nath, Dimacha Dwibrang Mwchahary

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Global Journal of Health Science   ISSN 1916-9736(Print)   ISSN 1916-9744(Online)


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