Publisher : Korean Society of Environmental Health
DOI : 10.5668/JEHS.2016.42.1.41
Title & Authors
Association between Scrub Typhus Outbreaks and Meteorological Factors in Jeollabuk-do Province Kang, Gong-Unn; Ma, Chang-Jin; Oh, Gyung-Jae;
Objectives: Scrub typhus is one of the most prevalent vector-borne diseases. It is caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, which is transmitted when people are bitten by infected chigger mites. This study aims at quantifying the association between the incidence of scrub typhus and meteorological factors in Jeollabuk-do Province over the period 2001-2015. Methods: Reported cases of scrub typhus were collected from the website of the Disease Web Statistical System supported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Simultaneous meteorological data, including temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, and sunshine duration were collected from the website of the National Climate Data Service System by the Korea Meteorological Administration. Correlation and regression analyses were applied to identify the association between the incidence of scrub typhus and meteorological factors. Results: The general epidemiological characteristics of scrub typhus in Jeollabuk-do Province were similar to those nationwide for sex, age, and geographical distribution. However, the annual incidence rate (i.e., cases per 100,000) of scrub typhus in Jeollabuk-do Province was approximately four times higher than all Korea's 0.9. The number of total cases was the highest proportion at 13.3% in Jeonbuk compared to other regions in Korea. The results of correlation analysis showed that there were significant correlations between annual cases of scrub typhus and monthly data for meteorological factors such as temperature and relative humidity in late spring and summer, especially in the case of temperature in May and June. The results of regression analysis showed that determining factors in the regression equation explaining the incidence of scrub typhus reached 46.2% and 43.5% in May and June. Using the regression equation, each 1oC rise in the monthly mean temperature in May or June may lead to an increase of 38 patients with scrub typhus compared to the annual mean of incidence cases in Jeollabuk-do Province. Conclusion: The result of our novel attempts provided rational evidence that meteorological factors are associated with the occurrence of scrub typhus in Jeollabuk-do. It should therefore be necessary to observe the trends and predict patterns of scrub typhus transmission in relation to global-scale climate change. Also, action is urgently needed in all areas, especially critical regions, toward taking steps to come up with preventive measures against scrub typhus transmission.
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