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Geospatial clustering of meningitis: an early warning system (hotspot) for potential meningitis outbreak in upper east region of Ghana

Ernest Akyereko
Donne Ameme
Kofi M. Nyarko
Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe
Samuel Sackey
Kofi Issah
Baba Wuni
Ernest Kenu


Objective: We mapped and generated hot spots for potential meningitis outbreak from existing data in Upper East region, Ghana.
Design: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in 2017
Data Source: Meningitis data in the Upper East Region from January 2007, to December 2016.
Main outcome measure: We used spatial tools in Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) and Geoda to draw choropleth map of meningitis incidence, case fatality and hotspot for potential meningitis outbreak

Results: A total of 2312 meningitis cases (suspected and confirmed) were recorded from 2016-2017 with median incidence of 15.0cases/100,000 population (min 6.3, max 47.8). Median age of cases was 15 years (IQR: 6-31 years). Most (44.2%) of those affected were 10 years and below. Females (51.2%) constituted the highest proportion. Median incidence from 2007-2011 was 20cases/100,000 population (Min 11.3, Max 39.9) whilst from 2012-2016 was 11.1cases/100,000 populations (Min 6.3, Max 47.8). A total of 28 significant hotspot sub-districts clusters (p=0.024) were identified with 7 High-high risk areas as potential meningitis outbreak spots.
Conclusion: The occurrence of meningitis is not random, spatial cluster with high –high-risk exist in some sub-districts. Overall meningitis incidence and fatality rate have declined in the region with district variations. Districts with high meningitis incidence and fatality rates should be targeted for intervention.
Keywords: meningitis outbreak, geospatial clustering, Upper East Region, meningitis incidence, Ghana
Funding: Author EA was supported by the West Africa Health Organization (Ref.: Prog/A17IEpidemSurveillN°57212014/mcrt).