The ENSO Experiment is an interdisciplinary research activity designed to examine the scientific underpinnings of ENSO and health connections, and to explore the potential for using climate forecast information to provide early warning of conditions posing a public health threat. In particular this experiment has four primary goals:
o to assess the impact of the 1997-98 ENSO event on human health, o to enhance the dialogue among the climate, ecology and health research communities and end users of forecast information, o to document the use of forecast information in the health arena during this ENSO event, and o to identify additional research and monitoring needs and future research requirements.
Conducted in collaboration with numerous domestic and international partners, the ENSO Experiment research activities focus largely on infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, Hantavirus, rift valley fever, cholera, diarrheal diseases, and marine disturbances. This paper will describe the ENSO Experiment, and will provide a synthesis of research findings, methodological approaches, and future research directions. This paper will also address related Federal activities and institutional mechanisms for facilitating further rigorous climate-health research and its use and value to the public health sector.