Short-term effects of meteorological factors on children hand, foot and mouth disease in Guangzhou, China

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Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a contagious viral illness that commonly affects infants and children. The underlying risk factors have not yet been systematically examined. This study analyzed the short-term effects of meteorological factors on children HFMD in Guangzhou, China. Daily count of HFMD among children younger than 15 years and meteorological variables from 2009 to 2011 were collected to construct the time series. A generalized additive model was applied to estimate the effects of meteorological factors on HFMD occurrence, after adjusting for long-term trend, seasonal trend, day of week, and public holidays. A negative association between temperature and children HFMD occurrence was observed at lag days 1–3, with the relative risk (RR) for a 1 °C increase on lag day 2 being 0.983 (95 % confidence intervals (CI) 0.977 to 0.989); positive effect was found for temperature at lag days 5–9, with the highest effect at lag day 6 (RR = 1.014, 95 % CI 1.006 to 1.023). Higher humidity was associated with increased HFMD at lag days 3–10, with the highest effect at lag day 8 (RR = 1.009 for 1 % increase in relative humidity, 95 % CI 1.007 to 1.010). And we also observed significant positive effect for rainfall at lag days 4 and 8 (RR = 1.001, 95 % CI 1.000 to 1.002) for 1-mm increase. Subgroup analyses showed that the positive effects of temperature were more pronounced among younger children. This study suggests that meteorological factors might be important predictors of children HFMD occurrence in Guangzhou.

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This study was funded by National Major Research Program of China (no. 2012CB955500). We thank the anonymous reviewers for numerous helpful comments.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethics statement

Data were collected as part of government-mandated health surveillance and analyzed anonymously so ethical approval was not needed.

Author information

Correspondence to Ming Wang or Qiyong Liu.

Additional information

Chun Chen, Hualiang Lin, and Xiaoquan Li contributed to this work equally.

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Chen, C., Lin, H., Li, X. et al. Short-term effects of meteorological factors on children hand, foot and mouth disease in Guangzhou, China. Int J Biometeorol 58, 1605–1614 (2014).

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  • Hand
  • Foot and mouth disease
  • Weather
  • Mean temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Guangzhou