Seasonal variation in child mortality in rural Guinea-Bissau.
ABSTRACT: In many African countries, child mortality is higher in the rainy season than in the dry season. We investigated the effect of season on child mortality by time periods, sex and age in rural Guinea-Bissau.Bandim health project follows children under-five in a health and demographic surveillance system in rural Guinea-Bissau. We compared the mortality in the rainy season (June to November) between 1990 and 2013 with the mortality in the dry season (December to May) in Cox proportional hazards models providing rainy vs. dry season mortality rate ratios (r/d-mrr). Seasonal effects were estimated in strata defined by time periods with different frequency of vaccination campaigns, sex and age (<1 month, 1-11 months, 12-59 months). Verbal autopsies were interpreted using InterVa-4 software.From 1990 to 2013, overall mortality was declined by almost two-thirds among 81 292 children (10 588 deaths). Mortality was 51% (95% ci: 45-58%) higher in the rainy season than in the dry season throughout the study period. The seasonal difference increased significantly with age, the r/d-mrr being 0.94 (0.86-1.03) among neonates, 1.57 (1.46-1.69) in post-neonatal infants and 1.83 (1.72-1.95) in under-five children (P for same effect <0.001). According to the InterVa, malaria deaths were the main reason for the seasonal mortality difference, causing 50% of all deaths in the rainy season, but only if the InterVa included season of death, making the argument self-confirmatory.The mortality declined throughout the study, yet rainy season continued to be associated with 51% higher overall mortality.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Climatic conditions and seasonal trends can affect population health, but typically, we consider the effect of climate on the epidemiology of communicable diseases. However, climate can also have an effect on access to care, particularly in remote rural areas of low- and middle-income countries. In this study, we investigate associations between the rainy season and the utilization of maternal health services in Mozambique. METHODS:We examined patterns in the number of women receiving antenatal care (ANC) and delivering at a health facility for 2012-2019, using data from Mozambique's Health Management Information Systems. We investigated the association between seasonality (rainfall) and maternal health service utilization (ANC and institutional delivery) at national and provincial level. We fit a negative binomial regression model for institutional delivery and used it to estimate the yearly reduction in institutional deliveries due to the rainy season, with other factors held constant. We used the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) to model increases in mortality due to this estimated decrease in institutional delivery associated with the rainy season. RESULTS:In our national analysis, the rate of ANC visits was 1% lower during the rainy season, adjusting for year and province (IRR?=?0.99, 95% CI: 0.96-1.03). The rate of institutional deliveries was 6% lower during the rainy season than the dry season, after adjusting for time and province (IRR?=?0.94, 95% CI: 0.92-0.96). In provincial analyses, all provinces except for Maputo-Cidade, Maputo-Province, Nampula, and Niassa showed a statistically significantly lower rate of institutional deliveries in the rainy season. None were statistically significantly lower for ANC. We estimate that, due to reductions in institutional delivery attributable only to the rainy season, there were 74 additional maternal deaths and 726 additional deaths of children under the age of 1 month in 2021, that would not have died if the mothers had instead delivered at a facility. CONCLUSION:Fewer women deliver at a health facility during the rainy season in Mozambique than during the dry season. Barriers to receiving care during pregnancy and childbirth must be addressed using a multisectoral approach, considering the impact of geographical inequities.
Project description:This study investigated seasonal and sex-specific variations in the haematological parameters and established reference ranges for these parameters in healthy 4 to 5.5-month-old infants in Guinea-Bissau.Within a randomised trial of early measles vaccination, over a period of 13 months blood samples were collected from infants aged 4 to 5.5 months. Haematological parameters were determined by an automated cell counter and compared in linear regression models providing geometric mean ratios (GMR).Blood samples from 501 infants (n=248 boys, 49.5%) were obtained, and 285 (56.9%) were collected in the rainy season. Median age was 4.7 months (range 3.7 to 7.2 months). Eosinophil and platelet counts were lower in the dry season (December to May) than in the rainy season (GMR 0.79 [95% CI 0.68-0.92]) and 0.93 [0.87-1.00], respectively). The calculated reference ranges were wider and generally higher than those from a US population of comparable age, but neutrophil levels were notably lower in Guinea-Bissau.The study indicated that eosinophil and platelet counts of infants were subject to seasonal variations. The reference ranges for haematological values were comparable to other African populations and corroborated that neutropenia regularly occurs in African infants.
Project description:Background: Seasonal patterns of mortality have been identified in Sub-Saharan Africa but their changes over time are not well documented.Objective: Based on death notification data from Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar, this study assesses seasonal patterns of all-cause and cause-specific mortality by age groups and evaluates how these patterns changed over the period 1976-2015.Methods: Monthly numbers of deaths by cause were obtained from death registers maintained by the Municipal Hygiene Office in charge of verifying deaths before the issuance of burial permits. Generalized Additive Mixed regression models (GAMM) were used to test for seasonality in mortality and its changes over the last four decades, controlling for long-term trends in mortality.Results: Among children, risks of dying were the highest during the hot and rainy season, but seasonality in child mortality has significantly declined since the mid-1970s, as a result of declines in the burden of infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies. In adults aged 60 and above, all-cause mortality rates are the highest in the dry and cold season, due to peaks in cardiovascular diseases, with little change over time. Overall, changes in the seasonality of all-cause mortality have been driven by shifts in the hierarchy of causes of death, while changes in the seasonality within broad categories of causes of death have been modest.Conclusion: Shifts in disease patterns brought about by the epidemiological transition, rather than changes in seasonal variation in cause-specific mortality, are the main drivers of trends in the seasonality of all-cause mortality.
Project description:The effects of temporal variation of rainfall on secondary succession of tropical dry ecosystems are poorly understood. We studied effects of inter-seasonal and inter-year rainfall variation on the dynamics of regenerative successional communities of a tropical dry forest in Mexico. We emphasized the effects caused by the severe El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occurred in 2005. We established permanent plots in sites representing a chronosequence of Pasture (abandoned pastures, 0-1 years fallow age), Early (3-5), Intermediate (8-12), and Old-Growth Forest categories (n?=?3 per category). In total, 8210 shrubs and trees 10 to 100-cm height were identified, measured, and monitored over four years. Rates of plant recruitment, growth and mortality, and gain and loss of species were quantified per season (dry vs. rainy), year, and successional category, considering whole communities and separating seedlings from sprouts and shrubs from trees. Community rates changed with rainfall variation without almost any effect of successional stage. Mortality and species loss rates peaked during the ENSO year and the following year; however, after two rainy years mortality peaked in the rainy season. Such changes could result from the severe drought in the ENSO year, and of the outbreak of biotic agents during the following rainy years. Growth, recruitment and species gain rates were higher in the rainy season but they were significantly reduced after the ENSO year. Seedlings exhibited higher recruitment and mortality rate than sprouts, and shrubs showed higher recruitment than trees. ENSO strongly impacted both the dynamics and trajectory of succession, creating transient fluctuations in the abundance and species richness of the communities. Overall, there was a net decline in plant and species density in most successional stages along the years. Therefore, strong drought events have critical consequences for regeneration dynamics, delaying the successional process and modifying the resilience of these systems.
Project description:Background and Aims:The relationship between fruiting phenology and seed dispersal syndrome is widely recognized; however, the interaction of dormancy classes and plant life-history traits in relation to fruiting phenology and seed dispersal is understudied. Here we examined the relationship between fruiting season and seed dormancy and how this relationship is modulated by dormancy classes, dispersal syndromes, seed mass and seed moisture content in a Brazilian savanna (cerrado). Methods:Dormancy classes (non-dormancy and physical, morphological, morphophysiological, physiological and physiophysical dormancy) of 34 cerrado species were experimentally determined. Their seed dispersal syndrome (autochory, anemochory, zoochory), dispersal season (rainy, dry, rainy-to-dry and dry-to-rainy transitions), seed mass and moisture contents, and the estimated germination date were also determined. Log-linear models were used to evaluate how dormancy and dormancy classes are related to dispersal season and syndrome. Key Results:The proportions of dormant and non-dormant species were similar in cerrado. The community-estimated germination date was seasonal, occurring at the onset of rainy season. Overall, anemochorous non-dormant species released seeds during the dry-to-rainy transition; autochorous physically dormant species dispersed seeds during the dry season and rainy-to-dry transition; zoochorous species dispersed non-dormant seeds during the dry and rainy seasons, while species with morphological, morphophysiological or physiological dormancy dispersed seeds in the transitional seasons. Seed mass differed among dispersal seasons and dormancy classes, but seed moisture content did not vary with dispersal syndrome, season or dormancy class. Conclusions:The beginning of the rainy season was the most favourable period for seed germination in cerrado, and the germination phenology was controlled by both the timing of seed dispersal and seed dormancy. Dormancy class was influenced by dispersal syndrome and season. Moreover, dormancy avoided seed germination during the rainy-to-dry transition, independently of dispersal syndrome. The variability of dormancy classes with dispersal syndrome allowed animal-dispersed species to fruit all year round, but seeds germinated only during the rainy season. Conversely, seasonally restricted wind-dispersal species dispersed and germinated their non-dormant seeds only in the rainy season.
Project description:Plants bearing extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) are common in the Brazilian cerrado savanna, where climatic conditions having marked seasonality influence arboreal ant fauna organization. These ant-plant interactions have rarely been studied at community level. Here, we tested whether: 1) EFN-bearing plants are more visited by ants than EFN-lacking plants; 2) ant visitation is higher in the rainy season than in dry season; 3) plants producing young leaves are more visited than those lacking young leaves in the rainy season; 4) during the dry season, plants with old leaves and flowers are more visited than plants with young leaves and bare of leaves or flowers; 5) the composition of visiting ant fauna differs between plants with and without EFNs. Field work was done in a cerrado reserve near Uberlândia, MG State, Brazil, along ten transects (total area 3,000 m2), in the rainy (October-January) and dry seasons (April-July) of 2010-2011. Plants (72 species; 762 individuals) were checked three times per season for ant presence. Results showed that 21 species (29%) and 266 individuals (35%) possessed EFNs. These plants attracted 38 ant species (36 in rainy, 26 in dry season). In the rainy season, plants with EFNs had higher ant abundance/richness than plants without EFNs, but in the dry season, EFN presence did not influence ant visitation. Plant phenology affected ant richness and abundance in different ways: plants with young leaves possessed higher ant richness in the rainy season, but in the dry season ant abundance was higher on plants possessing old leaves or flowers. The species composition of plant-associated ant communities, however, did not differ between plants with and without EFNs in either season. These findings suggest that the effect of EFN presence on a community of plant-visiting ants is context dependent, being conditioned to seasonal variation.
Project description:This study was undertaken to determine the relationships between the biomass, morphometry, and density of short shoots (SS) of the tropical seagrass Thalassia testudinum and the physical-environmental forcing in the region. Seasonal sampling surveys were undertaken four times in Bahia de la Ascension, a shallow estuary in the western Mexican Caribbean, to measure plant morphology and environmental variables. The estuary has a fresh water-influenced inner bay, a large central basin and a marine zone featuring a barrier reef at the seaward margin. Leaf size was positively correlated with increasing salinity, but total biomass was not, being similar across most of the sites. Aboveground biomass exhibited seasonal differences in dry and rainy seasons along the bay, most markedly in the brackish inner bay where an abrupt decline in biomass coincided with the rainy season. The relationship between nutrients and biomass indicates that the aboveground/belowground biomass ratio increases as nutrient availability increases. Areal cover was inversely correlated with SS density during both dry and rainy seasons. Maximum SS recruitment coincided with the rainy season. Peaks in SS density were recorded in the freshwater-influenced inner bay during an ENSO cold phase in 2007 ("La Niña") which is associated with a wetter dry season and following a strong storm (Hurricane Dean). The onset of the rainy season influences both shoot density and T. testudinum biomass by controlling the freshwater input to the bay and thus, the system's salinity gradient and external nutrients supply from the coastal wetland.
Project description:Seasonal drought is a common phenomenon in many forests predominated by monsoon climate. The impact of seasonal drought, however, may vary with elevations, and tree species of forests hence may differ in their response to elevations. In this study, we monitored the seasonal variation of seedling species composition, and their relative growth rate (RGR) along an elevational transect in tropical forests of southwest China for two years. We found tree seedling species richness declined with rising elevation. Seedling abundance and species richness increased significantly from dry season to rainy season. In dry season, RGR declined progressively from low to high elevational bands, while positive RGR occurred in each elevation in rainy season. We grouped seedling species into low and high elevation specialists based on their elevational distributions. Seasonal variance in soil moisture may lead to seasonal dynamics of seedling community in this area. Our results suggest that the observed change in local climate over the last 40 years tends to allow the tree species from high elevation to expand their distribution to the lower elevation, while the ranges of those at low elevations could be compressed or at the risk of extinction.
Project description:OBJECTIVES: To study the manifestations of Plasmodium infection, and its relations with the malaria disease, especially when comparing dry and rainy seasons in a hyperendemic area of West Africa. METHODS: The study was carried out in an area where malaria transmission is high, showing important seasonal variations. One thousand children, representing the total child population (1-12 year old), were observed transversally at the end of three consecutive seasons (dry/rainy/dry). The usual indicators, such as parasite density, splenomegaly, anaemia, or febrile disease were recorded and analysed. RESULTS: The prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum was high in all age groups and seasons, constantly around 60%. The high transmission season (rainy) showed higher rates of anaemia and spleen enlargement and, in the youngest children only, higher parasite densities. There were also differences between the two dry seasons: in the first one, there was a higher rate of fever than in the second one (p < 0.001). Low parasite density (<2,000 p/?l) was never associated with fever during any season, raising some concern with regard to the usefulness of parasite detection. The possible origins of fever are discussed, together with the potential usefulness of analyzing these indices on a population sample, at a time when fever incidence rises and malaria is one potential cause among others. The distinction to be made between the Plasmodium infection and the malaria disease is highlighted. CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm previous hypotheses of a strong difference in malaria infection and disease between dry and rainy seasons. The most relevant seasonal indicator was not mainly parasite rate and density but anaemia, spleen enlargement, prevalence and possible origin of fever. RECOMMENDATIONS: In any situation (i.e. fever or not) and especially during the dry season, one must consider that detection of parasites in the blood is only evidence of a Plasmodium infection and not necessarily of a malaria disease. In such a situation, it seems suitable to obtain, through national malaria teams, a well-defined situation of transmission and prevalence of Plasmodium infection following zones and seasons, in order to adapt control strategies. For researchers, a systematic management of data separately for dry and rainy season appears mandatory.
Project description:Background:Bats are among the most successful desert mammals. Yet, our understanding of their spatio-temporal dynamics in habitat use associated with the seasonal oscillation of resources is still limited. In this study, we have employed state-of-the-art lightweight GPS loggers to track the yellow-winged bat Lavia frons in a desert in northern Kenya to investigate how seasonality in a desert affects the a) spatial and b) temporal dimensions of movements in a low-mobility bat. Methods:Bats were tracked during April-May 2017 (rainy season) and January-February 2018 (dry season) using 1-g GPS loggers. Spatial and temporal dimensions of movements were quantified, respectively, as the home range and nightly activity patterns. We tested for differences between seasons to assess responses to seasonal drought. In addition, we quantified home range overlap between neighbouring individuals to investigate whether tracking data will be in accordance with previous reports on territoriality and social monogamy in L. frons. Results:We obtained data for 22 bats, 13 during the rainy and 9 during the dry season. Home ranges averaged 5.46 ± 11.04 ha and bats travelled a minimum distance of 99.69 ± 123.42 m/hour. During the dry season, home ranges were larger than in the rainy season, and bats exhibited high activity during most of the night. No apparent association with free water was identified during the dry season. The observed spatial organisation of home ranges supports previous observations that L. frons partitions the space into territories throughout the year. Conclusions:Our results suggest that, in low-mobility bats, a potential way to cope with seasonally harsh conditions and resource scarcity in deserts is to cover larger areas and increase time active, suggesting lower cost-efficiency of the foraging activity. Climate change may pose additional pressures on L. frons and other low-mobility species by further reducing food abundances.