Effects of time-lagged meteorological variables on attributable risk of leishmaniasis in central region of Afghanistan.


Department for Management of Science and Technology Development, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam; Faculty of Mathematics and Statistics, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Leishmaniasis remains one of the world's most neglected vector-borne diseases, affecting predominantly poor communities mainly in developing countries. Previous studies have shown that the distribution and dynamics of leishmaniasis infections are sensitive to environmental factors, however, there are no studies on the burden of leishmaniasis attributable to time-varying meteorological variables.
METHODS : This study used data from 3 major leishmaniosis afflicted provinces of Afghanistan, between 2003 and 2009, to provide empirical analysis of change in heat/cold-leishmaniosis association. Non-linear and delayed exposure-lag-response relationship between meteorological variables and leishmaniasis were fitted with a distributed lag non-linear model applying a spline function which describes the dependency along the range of values with a lag of up to 12 months. We estimated the risk of leishmaniasis attributable to high and low temperature.
RESULTS : The median monthly mean temperature and rainfall were 16.1 °C and 0.6 in., respectively. Seasonal variations of leishmaniasis were consistent between males and females, however significant differences were observed among different age groups. Temperature effects were immediate and persistent (lag 0-12 months). The cumulative risks were highest at cold temperatures. The cumulative relative risks (logRR) for leishmaniasis were 6.16 (95% CI: 5.74-6.58) and 1.15 (95% CI: 1.32-1.31) associated with the 10th percentile temperature (2.16 °C) and the 90th percentile temperature (28.46 °C). The subgroup analysis showed increased risk for males as well as young and middle aged people at cold temperatures, however, higher risk was observed for the elderly in heat. The overall leishmaniasis-temperature attributable fractions was estimated to be 7.6% (95% CI: 7.5%-7.7%) and mostly due to cold.
CONCLUSIONS : Findings in this study highlight the non-linearity, delay of effects and magnitude of leishmaniasis risk associated with temperature. The disparity of risk between different subgroups can hopefully advise policy makers and assist in leishmaniasis control program.


Afghanistan,Attributable risk,Generalized additive model,Lagged variables,Leishmaniasis,

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