Background: The trend of military patients becoming infected with vivax malaria reemerged in the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 1993. The common explanation has been that infective Anopheles mosquitoes from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have invaded Republic of Korea's demilitarized zone (DMZ). The aim of this study was to verify the relationship between meteorological factors and the number of malaria patients in the military in this region. Methods: The authors estimated the effects of meteorological factors on vivax malaria patients from the military based on the monthly number of malaria cases between 2006 and 2011. Temperature, precipitation, snow depth, wind velocity, relative humidity, duration of sunshine, and cloud cover were selected as the meteorological factors to be studied. A systematic pattern in the spatial distribution of malaria cases was assessed using the Moran's Index. Granger causality tests and cross-correlation coefficients were used to evaluate the relationship between meteorological factors and malaria patients in the military. Results: Spatial analysis revealed significant clusters of malaria patients in the military in Republic of Korea in 2011 (Moran's I = 0.136, p-value = 0.026). In the six years investigated, the number of malaria patients in the military in Paju decreased, but the number of malaria patients in the military in Hwacheon and Chuncheon increased. Monthly average, maximum and minimum temperatures; wind velocity; and relative humidity were found to be predicting factors of malaria in patients in the military in Paju. In contrast, wind velocity alone was not able to predict malaria in Hwacheon and Chuncheon, however, precipitation and cloud cover were able to predict malaria in Hwacheon and Chuncheon. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the number of malaria patients in the military is correlated with meteorological factors. The variation in occurrence of malaria cases was principally attributed to differences in meteorological factors by regions of Republic of Korea.
- Meteorological factors
- Plasmodium vivax
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases