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Meteorological factors and El Nino Southern Oscillation are associated with paediatric varicella infections in Hong Kong, 2004–2010

  • J. Y. C. CHAN (a1), H. L. LIN (a2) (a3) and L. W. TIAN (a1) (a4)

Summary

Varicella accounts for substantial morbidities and remains a public health issue worldwide, especially in children. Little is known about the effect of meteorological variables on varicella infection risk for children. This study described the epidemiology of paediatric varicella notifications in Hong Kong from 2004 to 2010, and explored the association between paediatric varicella notifications in children aged <18 years and various meteorological factors using a time-stratified case-crossover model, with adjustment of potential confounding factors. The analysis found that daily mean temperature, atmospheric pressure and Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) were positively associated with paediatric varicella notifications. We found that an interquartile range (IQR) increase in temperature (8·38°C) at lag 1 day, a 9·50 hPa increase in atmospheric pressure for the current day, and a 21·91 unit increase in SOI for the current day may lead to an increase in daily cases of 5·19% [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·90–8·58], 5·77% (95% CI 3·01–8·61), and 4·32% (95% CI 2·98–5·68), respectively. An IQR increase in daily relative humidity (by 11·96%) was associated with a decrease in daily paediatric varicella (−2·79%, 95% CI −3·84 to −1·73). These findings suggest that meteorological factors might be important predictors of paediatric varicella infection in Hong Kong.

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Corresponding author

* Author for correspondence: Professor L. W. Tian, 4/F, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong. (Email: linweit@cuhk.edu.hk)

References

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Meteorological factors and El Nino Southern Oscillation are associated with paediatric varicella infections in Hong Kong, 2004–2010

  • J. Y. C. CHAN (a1), H. L. LIN (a2) (a3) and L. W. TIAN (a1) (a4)

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