Methods

WNF cases (date of admission and patients' address) were mapped using Geographic Information System (GIS) for the years 2000-2005. Monthly anomalies of mean monthly temperatures (maximum and minimum) from the perennial monthly averages (maximum and minimum) of the period 1981-2000 for March (end of winter), May (spring), and August (summer) were calculated for selected stations and all characterized as sub-climatic regions. Selected months were mapped using GIS. The relative percentage contribution of seasonal rainfall from the seasonal perennial averages of the period 1971-2000 for winter and spring was calculated. The distribution of mosquito hazard levels was analyzed using GIS in selected stations along the country. To identify lag correlations between weather conditions and mosquito hazard levels throughout the study period, multinomial logistic regression was calculated between daily temperatures (mean, minimum, and maximum) or daily precipitation amounts and the mosquito hazard samplings. The regression was computed for four main districts from the north to the south. To identify linkages and lag correlations between weather conditions and WNF morbidity, Spearman correlation was calculated between WNF cases (hospital admission dates) and mean daily temperatures/daily precipitation amount, throughout the years 2001-2005. Pearson cross-correlations were calculated between daily minimum, maximum, and mean temperatures (or daily precipitation amounts) and the hospital admission dates in the Tel Aviv metropolis (the region with most of the WNF cases) in 2005 (the year with the highest disease distribution).

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