Climate and spatial risk modeling of human plague in Uganda

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 2:15 PM
B301 (GWCC)
Andrew J. Monaghan, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and R. J. Eisen

Plague ,a primarily flea-borne bacterial zoonosis caused by Yersinia pestis, is often fatal if appropriate antibiotic therapy is delayed or inadequate. Raising awareness among health care providers, environmental health specialists and the public of when and where humans are most at risk of exposure to Y. pestis may aid in targeting limited prevention and control resources. In recent decades, the majority of human plague cases have been reported from East Africa and Madagascar. From 1999-2007, approximately 2,000 suspect human plague cases were reported from the West Nile Region in Northwestern Uganda.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases, is working to understand and model plague dynamics in this region of Uganda. In many parts of the world, plague occurrence is closely associated with temperature and rainfall patterns. High spatial resolution monthly-to-seasonal climate data are required for the modeling effort, but are not currently available over Uganda due to a sparse observational network and a lack of model datasets that resolve the complex climatic gradients in the region. NCAR's Research Applications Laboratory is collaborating with CDC to meet these needs by generating high-quality downscaled climate data for Uganda. We employ a hybrid dynamical-statistical downscaling technique based on the Weather Research and Forecasting Model and the Noah Land Surface Model to generate monthly climate fields with 2-km resolution. This presentation will give an overview of the challenges and early results from both the regional climate modeling and the plague modeling.