The prediction of the occurrence of infectious diseases is of crucial importance for public health, as clearly seen in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we analyze the relationship between the occurrence of a winter low-pressure weather regime - Cyprus Lows - and the seasonal Influenza in the Eastern Mediterranean. We find that the weekly occurrence of Cyprus Lows is significantly correlated with clinical seasonal Influenza in Israel in recent years (R = 0.91; p < .05). This result remains robust when considering a complementary analysis based on Google Trends data for Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. The weekly occurrence of Cyprus Lows precedes the onset and maximum of Influenza occurrence by about one to two weeks (R = 0.88; p < .05 for the maximum occurrence), and closely follows their timing in eight out of ten years (2008–2017). Since weather regimes such as Cyprus Lows are more robustly predicted in weather and climate models than individual climate variables, we conclude that the weather regime approach can be used to develop tools for estimating the compatibility of the transmission environment for Influenza occurrence in a warming world. Furthermore, this approach may be applied to other regions and climate sensitive diseases. This study is a new cross-border inter-disciplinary regional collaboration for appropriate adaptation to climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
AH and JGP are funded by the German Helmholtz Association. JGP thanks AXA Research Fund for support. AH was also partly supported by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies as part of a project funded by the European Union .
This cross-border collaboration is a part of the Track II initiative of The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Israel. As such, we would like to thank Robin Twite and Dr. Yara Dahdal for initiating cross-border collaboration. We would like to thank the team of the ICDC and Maccabi Healthcare Services, who routinely collect and publish Influenza surveillance data, and Prof. Nadav Davidovitch for providing comments to this manuscript prior to submission. AH and JGP are funded by the German Helmholtz Association. JGP thanks AXA Research Fund for support. AH was also partly supported by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies as part of a project funded by the European Union. The paper and/or the Supplementary Materials contain or provide instructions to access all the data needed to evaluate the conclusions drawn in the paper. Additional data is available from the corresponding author upon request.
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.
- Climate change
- Infectious diseases
- Public health
- Weather regimes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal