Beyond reasonable drought: Hotspots reveal a link between the 'Big Dry' and cryptosporidiosis in Australia's Murray Darling Basin

Aparna Lal*, Paul Konings

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    There is little evidence on how the health impacts of drought vary spatially and temporally. With a focus on waterborne cryptosporidiosis, we identify spatio-temporal hotspots and by using interrupted time series analysis, examine the impact of Australia's Big Dry (2001-2009) in these disease clusters in the Murray Darling Drainage Basin. Analyses revealed a statistically significant hotspot in the north of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and a hotspot in the north-eastern end of the basin in Queensland. After controlling for long-term trend and seasonality in cryptosporidiosis, interrupted time series analysis of reported cases in these hotspots indicated a statistically significant link with the Big Dry. In both areas, the end of the Big Dry was associated with a lower risk of reported cryptosporidiosis; in the ACT, the estimated relative risk (RR) was 0.16 (95% confidence interval: 0.07; 0.33), and in Queensland the RR was 0.42 (95% confidence interval: 0.19; 0.42). Although these data do not establish a causal association, this research highlights the potential for drought-related health risks.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1033-1037
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Water and Health
    Volume16
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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