Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, 81 Meishan Road, Shushan District, Hefei, Anhui 230032, China; Central Laboratory of Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, 81 Meishan Road, Shushan District, Hefei, Anhui 230032, China; Laboratory for environmental Toxicology, Anhui Medical University, 81 Meishan Road, Shushan District, Hefei, Anhui 230032, China. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a major public health issue in China with a high burden of reinfection. Previous studies presented evidence of the relationship between meteorological factors and HFMD incidence, but no study examined the effects of extreme meteorological factors on HFMD reinfection. METHODS : Daily HFMD reinfection counts and meteorological data of Hefei city were collected from 2011 to 2016. A distributed lag non-linear model was used to quantify the effects of extreme weather (wind speed, sunshine duration, and precipitation) on HFMD reinfection. All effects were presented as relative risk (RR), with 90th or 10th percentiles of meteorological variables compare with their median values. Confounding factors, such as mean temperature, relative humidity, day of week, and long-term trend were controlled. RESULTS : A total of 4873 HFMD reinfection cases aged 0-11 years were reported. Extremely high precipitation, low wind speed, and low sunshine duration increased HFMD reinfection risk. The effect of extremely high precipitation was greatest at 8 days lag (RR = 1.01, 95%CI: 1.00-1.02). Extremely low wind speed and low sunshine increased 19% (RR = 1.19, 95%CI: 1.09-1.32) and 12% (RR = 1.12, 95%CI: 1.00-1.26) risk at lag 0-12 days, respectively. By contrast, extremely high wind speed and high sunshine duration exerted certain protective effects on HFMD reinfection at lag 0-12 days (RR = 0.76, 95%CI: 0.66-0.88; RR = 0.88, 95%CI: 0.79-0.99, respectively). Subgroup analyses showed that nursery children were the most sensitive people to the extreme wind speed and sunshine duration. Children aged 4-11 years appeared to be more susceptible to extreme sunshine duration than children aged <3 years. CONCLUSIONS : The present study provides evidence that extreme meteorological factors exert delayed effects on HFMD reinfection. Developing an early warning system is necessary for the protection of children from harm due to extreme meteorological factors.