Protecting Populations: Using Environmental Variables to Predict Cholera in Bangladesh and Vietnam

Caryl Feldacker, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Veronica Escamilla, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Background: Cholera infection is caused by ingestion of Vibrio Cholerae from contaminated food or water. Environmental factors and population characteristics play indirect roles in the occurrence and severity of cholera outbreaks. Objectives: This paper examines the relationships between cholera and local environment factors in Bangladesh and Vietnam. Methods: Ordered probit models examine associations between the environment and cholera severity in Bangladesh; probit models examine associations in two sites in Vietnam. Results: Increases in ocean chlorophyll concentration are related to increased probability of severe cholera outbreaks in Bangladesh. Increases in sea surface temperature appear most influential in Hue, Vietnam, while increases in river height appear most influential in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Conclusions: The local environment has unique effects on cholera; therefore, potential predictive models must be site specific and dynamic. Future investigation will measure the potential variation in cholera outbreaks in relation to both environmental factors and population characteristics.

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Presented in Poster Session 4