Association between Meningococcal Meningitis and Santa Ana Winds in Children and Adolescents from Tijuana, Mexico, a need for Vaccination.


  • Enrique Chacon-Cruz Institute for Global Health, University of Siena, Italy; and Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, General Hospital of Tijuana, Baja-California,
  • Erika Zoe Lopatynsky-Reyes Institute for Global Health, University of Siena, Italy; and University of California, San Diego, California, USA
  • Esbeydy Garcia Department of Pediatric Dermatology, General Hospital of Tijuana, Baja-California, Mexico.
  • Jesus Gilberto Montano-Duron Department of Pediatrics, General Hospital of Tijuana, Baja-California, Mexico


Meningococcal meningitis, Climate, Weather, Children, Meningococcal vaccine


Background: Based on several previous studies (regional and national), Tijuana, Baja-California, Mexico (across the border from San Diego, California, USA), has shown the highest rate of Meningococcal Meningitis (MeM) in the country, however, the reason for this has not yet been known. In the “African Meningitis Belt”, the Harmattan seasons are associated with MeM outbreaks. The Santa Ana winds seasons (SAWs) are hot and dry winds (similar to Harmattan seasons) that occur seasonally in southwestern California, USA, and North of Baja-California, Mexico.

Objectives: Our aim was to demonstrate, as a short communication, a potential association of SAWs with MeM in Tijuana, Baja-California, Mexico, which in turn, may partially explain the high rate of this disease in the region.

Methods: Based on own previously published data obtained from thirteen years of active surveillance of MeM, and a 65 years review showing the occurrence of SAWs, we estimated the risk ratio (RR) of total cases number by MeM vs. bacterial non-MeM (bacterial meningitis not caused by Neisseria meningitidis) during seasons with and without SAWs.

Results: We found an association of SAWs seasons with MeM, but not with bacterial non-MeM (RR = 2.06, p = 0.02 (95% CI 1.1 to 3.8), which may partially explain the high endemicity of this deadly disease in this part of the globe.

Conclusion: This study shows a new potential climatic association with MeM, and provides more information that justifies universal meningococcal vaccination in Tijuana, Mexico.