Epidemiology and Infection

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Epidemiology and Infection (2010), 138:99-107 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

Original Papers

Environmental influences on infectious disease

Relationship of cholera incidence to El Niño and solar activity elucidated by time-series analysis

K. OHTOMOa1a2 c1, N. KOBAYASHIa1, A. SUMIa1 and N. OHTOMOa2

a1 Department of Hygiene, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
a2 Natural Energy Research Center (NERC), Sapporo, Japan
Article author query
ohtomo k [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
kobayashi n [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
sumi a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
ohtomo n [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Using time-series analysis, we investigated the monthly cholera incidence in Dhaka, Bangladesh during an 18-year period for its relationship to the sea surface temperature (SST) linked to El Niño, and to the sunspot number. Dominant periodic modes identified for cholera incidence were 11·0, 4·8, 3·5, 2·9, 1·6, 1·0 and 0·5 years. The majority of these modes, e.g. the 11·0-, 4·8-, 3·5-, 1·6- and 1·0-year modes, were essentially consistent with those obtained for the SST data (dominant modes: 5·1, 3·7, 2·5, 2·1, 1·5, 1·0 years) and the sunspot number data (dominant modes: 22·1, 11·1, 7·3, 4·8, 3·1 years). We confirmed that the variations of cholera incidence were synchronous with SSTs, and were inversely correlated to the sunspot numbers. These results suggest that the cholera incidence in Bangladesh may have been influenced by the occurrence of El Niño and also by the periodic change of solar activity.

(Accepted May 15 2009)

(Online publication June 19 2009)

Key Words:Cholera; sunspot number; SST; time-series analysis


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr K. Ohtomo, Department of Hygiene, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, S-1 W-17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-8556, Japan. (Email: kenta@sapmed.ac.jp or k-ohtomo@kinoseni.com)