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Relationship of cholera incidence to El Niño and solar activity elucidated by time-series analysis

  • K. OHTOMO (a1) (a2), N. KOBAYASHI (a1), A. SUMI (a1) and N. OHTOMO (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 19 June 2009

Using time-series analysis, we investigated the monthly cholera incidence in Dhaka, Bangladesh during an 18-year period for its relationship to the sea surface temperature (SST) linked to El Niño, and to the sunspot number. Dominant periodic modes identified for cholera incidence were 11·0, 4·8, 3·5, 2·9, 1·6, 1·0 and 0·5 years. The majority of these modes, e.g. the 11·0-, 4·8-, 3·5-, 1·6- and 1·0-year modes, were essentially consistent with those obtained for the SST data (dominant modes: 5·1, 3·7, 2·5, 2·1, 1·5, 1·0 years) and the sunspot number data (dominant modes: 22·1, 11·1, 7·3, 4·8, 3·1 years). We confirmed that the variations of cholera incidence were synchronous with SSTs, and were inversely correlated to the sunspot numbers. These results suggest that the cholera incidence in Bangladesh may have been influenced by the occurrence of El Niño and also by the periodic change of solar activity.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr K. Ohtomo, Department of Hygiene, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, S-1 W-17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo060-8556, Japan. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
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