Exploring Meningitis Lags and Similarities Between Saharan Dust Proxies in West Africa

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Deanes, Lauren Nicole
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 29, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Gregory S Jenkins, Thesis Advisor
  • Chris Eliot Forest, Committee Member
  • Gary King, Committee Member
  • Dust
  • Air quality
  • Meningitis
  • PM10
  • Aerosol Optical Depth
  • West Africa
Many West African countries are exposed to large amounts of Saharan dust during the dry season, which is November to May. During the latter part of the dry season, January through April, West Africa experiences high incidences of Meningitis. The objectives of this work are (1) to explore the potential connection between dust proxies (PM10 and Aerosol Optical Depth [AOD]) and Meningitis in Mali, Niger, and Senegal; and (2) to determine if different dust proxies are similar in Mali, Niger, and Senegal. Data from the following sources were used: PM10 from the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (AMMA) Sahelian Dust Transect, PM10 from Senegal’s national air quality agency (Centre de Gestion de la Qualité de l’Air - CGQA), AOD from Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) stations, and AOD from the MODIS instruments on the Terra and Aqua satellites. Weekly averages of the dust proxies were compared to weekly suspected Meningitis case (SMC) reports. Meningitis case data came from the World Health Organization and Senegal Health Ministry. First, Mali showed strong and significant correlations for the 0-1-week lags for AOD data, while Niger and Senegal had generally weak, negative, or insignificant cross-correlations. Secondly, Mali and Niger had stronger dust proxy correlations, while Senegal had weaker and insignificant dust proxy correlations. West Africa is a data-sparse region. By studying PM10, AOD, and Meningitis all together, this study sheds light on what we can learn from studying the available air quality and Meningitis data in West Africa.