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Assessing the impact of ambient temperature on the risk of hand, foot, and mouth disease in Guangdong, China: New insight from the disease severity and burden

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2022 Jun 23;16(6):e0010470. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0010470. eCollection 2022 Jun.


BACKGROUND: The association between the incidence of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) and ambient temperature has been well documented. Although the severity of symptoms is an important indicator of disease burden and varies significantly across cases, it usually was ignored in previous studies, potentially leading to biased estimates of the health impact of temperature.

METHODS: We estimated the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) by considering the severity of symptoms for each HFMD case reported during 2010-2012 in Guangdong and used distributed lag-nonlinear models to estimate the association between the daily average temperature and daily DALY of HFMD cases at the city-level. We investigated the potential effect modifiers on the pathway between temperature and DALY and pooled city-specific estimates to a provincial association using a meta-regression. The overall impact of temperature was further evaluated by estimates of DALYs that could be attributed to HFMD.

RESULTS: The overall cumulative effect of daily mean temperature on the DALY of HFMD showed an inverse-U shape, with the maximum effect estimated to be β = 0.0331 (95%CI: 0.0199-0.0463) DALY at 23.8°C. Overall, a total of 6.432 (95%CI: 3.942-8.885) DALYs (attributable fraction = 2.721%, 95%CI: 1.660-3.759%) could be attributed to temperature exposure. All the demographic subgroups had a similar trend as the main analysis, while the magnitude of the peak of the temperature impact tended to be higher among the males, those aged ≥3yrs or from the Pear-River Delta region. Additionally, the impact of temperature on DALY elevated significantly with the increasing population density, per capita GDP, and per capita green space in parks.

CONCLUSIONS: Temperature exposure was associated with increased burden of HFMD nonlinearly, with certain groups such as boys and those from areas with greater population density being more vulnerable.

PMID:35737664 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0010470

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