Back to browse results
Association between extreme rainfall and acute respiratory infection among children under-5 years in sub-Saharan Africa: an analysis of Demographic and Health Survey data, 2006–2020
Authors: Athicha Uttajug, Kayo Ueda, Xerxes Seposo and Joel Msafiri Francis
Source: BMJ Open, 13
Topic(s): Bronchitis
Child health
Environment and natural resources
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
  Burkina Faso
  Congo Democratic Republic
  Cote D'Ivoire
  Sierra Leone
  South Africa
Published: APR 2023
Abstract: Objective: Despite an increase in the number of studies examining the association between extreme weather events and infectious diseases, evidence on respiratory infection remains scarce. This study examined the association between extreme rainfall and acute respiratory infection (ARI) in children aged <5 years in sub-Saharan Africa. Setting: Study data were taken from recent (2006–2020) Demographic and Health Survey data sets from 33 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Participants: 280 157 children aged below 5 years were included. Outcome measures: The proportions of ARI according to individual, household and geographical characteristics were compared using the ?2 test. The association between extreme rainfall (=90th percentile) and ARI was examined using multivariate logistic regression for 10 of 33 countries with an adequate sample size of ARI and extreme rainfall events. The model was adjusted for temperature, comorbidity and sociodemographic factors as covariates. Stratification analyses by climate zone were also performed. Results: The prevalence of ARI in children aged <5 years ranged from 1.0% to 9.1% across sub-Saharan Africa. By country, no significant association was observed between extreme rainfall and ARI, except in Nigeria (OR: 2.14, 95% CI 1.06 to 4.31). Larger effect estimates were observed in the tropical zone (OR: 1.13, 95%?CI 0.69 to 1.84) than in the arid zone (OR: 0.72, 95%?CI 0.17 to 2.95), although the difference was not statistically significant. Conclusion: We found no association between extreme rainfall and ARI in sub-Saharan Africa. Effect estimates tended to be larger in the tropical zone where intense rainfall events regularly occur. Comprehensive studies to investigate subsequent extreme climate events, such as flooding, are warranted in the future.