Weather conditions and cerebrospinal meningitis in Benin (Gulf of Guinea, West Africa)

Eur J Epidemiol. 1997 Oct;13(7):807-15. doi: 10.1023/a:1007365919013.


Over a 28-year period cerebrospinal meningitis, in sporadic as well as epidemic situations, mainly affected the Beninese territory from November to March, April or sometimes May. On the average, the acme occurred in February-March. A regression analysis confirmed that 14 to 34.5% of the temporal variability of the disease was due to the northern trade wind (harmattan) and a low absolute humidity in the northern areas, which constitute the main epidemiological pole of the country. On the contrary, cerebrospinal meningitis and climate turned out to be fully independent one from the other in the southernmost areas, where the harmattan is seldom experienced although the meningitis belt is at the present time spreading southwards. But the case-fatality ratio was especially high in the coastal region and during the off season, i.e. when endemic meningitis predominantly affected small children aged under one year. In any way, the climate-meningitis relationship proved to be weaker than is sometimes assumed, perhaps because this relationship is partly overshadowed by both anthropic effects (vaccination campaigns) and latency before disease outbreak.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Benin / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningitis / epidemiology*
  • Meningitis / mortality
  • Seasons
  • Weather*