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Title: Large-scale Lassa fever outbreaks in Nigeria : quantifying the association between disease reproduction number and local rainfall
Authors: Zhao, S 
Musa, SS 
Fu, H
He, DH 
Qin, J 
Issue Date: 2020
Source: Epidemiology and infection, 2020, v. 148, e4, p. 1-12
Abstract: Lassa fever (LF) is increasingly recognised as an important rodent-borne viral haemorrhagic fever presenting a severe public health threat to sub-Saharan West Africa. In 2017-18, LF caused an unprecedented epidemic in Nigeria and the situation was worsening in 2018-19. This work aims to study the epidemiological features of epidemics in different Nigerian regions and quantify the association between reproduction number (R) and state rainfall. We quantify the infectivity of LF by the reproduction numbers estimated from four different growth models: the Richards, three-parameter logistic, Gompertz and Weibull growth models. LF surveillance data are used to fit the growth models and estimate the Rs and epidemic turning points (tau) in different regions at different time periods. Cochran's Q test is further applied to test the spatial heterogeneity of the LF epidemics. A linear random-effect regression model is adopted to quantify the association between R and state rainfall with various lag terms. Our estimated Rs for 2017-18 (1.33 with 95% CI 1.29-1.37) was significantly higher than those for 2016-17 (1.23 with 95% CI: (1.22, 1.24)) and 2018-19 (ranged from 1.08 to 1.36). We report spatial heterogeneity in the Rs for epidemics in different Nigerian regions. We find that a one-unit (mm) increase in average monthly rainfall over the past 7 months could cause a 0.62% (95% CI 0.20%-1.05%)) rise in R. There is significant spatial heterogeneity in the LF epidemics in different Nigerian regions. We report clear evidence of rainfall impacts on LF epidemics in Nigeria and quantify the impact.
Keywords: Lassa fever
Modelling analysis
Reproduction number
Spatial heterogeneity
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Journal: Epidemiology and infection 
ISSN: 0950-2688
EISSN: 1469-4409
DOI: 10.1017/S0950268819002267
Rights: © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press.This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The following publication Zhao S, Musa SS, Fu H, He D,Qin J (2020). Large-scale Lassa fever outbreaksin Nigeria: quantifying the associationbetween disease reproduction number andlocal rainfall.Epidemiology and Infection148,e4, 1–12 is available at
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