Meteorological influence on the 2009 influenza a (H1N1) pandemic in mainland China
Since May 2009, a novel influenza A (H1N1) pandemic has spread rapidly in mainland China from Mexico. Although there has been substantial analysis of this influenza, a reliable work estimating its spatial dynamics and determinants remain scarce. The survival and transmission of this pandemic virus not only depends on its biological properties, but also a correlation with external environmental factors. In this study, we collected daily influenza A (H1N1) cases and corresponding annual meteorological factors in mainland China from May 2009 to April 2010. By analyzing these data at county-level, a similarity index, which considered the spatio-temporal characteristics of the disease, was proposed to evaluate the role and lag time of meteorological factors in the influenza transmission. The results indicated that the influenza spanned a large geographical area, following an overall trend from east to west across the country. The spatio-temporal transmission of the disease was affected by a series of meteorological variables, especially absolute humidity with a 3-week lag. These findings confirmed that the absolute humidity and other meteorological variables contributed to the local occurrence and dispersal of influenza A (H1N1). The impact of meteorological variables and their lag effects could be involved in the improvement of effective strategies to control and prevent the disease outbreaks.
KeywordsInfluenza A (H1N1) pandemic Meteorological factors Fréchet distance Time lag China
This study was supported by the National Research Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology in China (2012AA12A407, 2012CB955501), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41271099). The authors would thank Chengdong Xu for helpful theoretical consultation. In addition, comments from Yawen Zhang and Yan Zhou also improved this paper.
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