Geophysical Research Letters

Hydroclimatology of dual-peak annual cholera incidence: Insights from a spatially explicit model

Authors


Abstract

[1] Cholera incidence in some regions of the Indian subcontinent may exhibit two annual peaks although the main environmental drivers that have been linked to the disease (e.g., sea surface temperature, zooplankton abundance, river discharge) peak once per year during the summer. An empirical hydroclimatological explanation relating cholera transmission to river flows and to the disease spatial spreading has been recently proposed. We specifically support and substantiate mechanistically such hypothesis by means of a spatially explicit model of cholera transmission. Our framework directly accounts for the role of a model river network in transporting and redistributing cholera bacteria among human communities as well as for spatial and temporal annual fluctuations of river flows. The model is forced by seasonal environmental drivers, namely river flow, temperature and chlorophyll concentration in the coastal environment, a proxy for Vibrio choleraeconcentration. Our results show that these drivers may suffice to generate dual-peak cholera prevalence patterns for proper combinations of timescales involved in pathogen transport, hydrologic variability and disease unfolding. The model explains the possible occurrence of spatial patterns of cholera incidence characterized by a spring peak confined to coastal areas and a fall peak involving inland regions. Our modeling framework suggests insights on how environmental drivers concert the generation of complex spatiotemporal infections and proposes an explanation for the different cholera patterns (dual or single annual peaks) exhibited by regions that share similar hydroclimatological forcings.

Ancillary