Weather Helps Predict Dengue Fever

GUANGZHOU, China, Oct. 26 (UPI) — Chinese scientists say they’ve determined weather conditions such as temperatures, humidity and wind speed can help predict dengue fever outbreaks.

Dengue fever — one of the most widespread insect-borne diseases found in humans — is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Being able to predict the trend of dengue fever can facilitate early public heath responses.

The research team led by Qiyong Liu of China’s Centers for Disease Control and Linwei Tian of the Stanley Ho Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at Chinese University in Hong Kong correlated weather conditions, including minimum and maximum temperature, wind velocity, humidity and rainfall, with the number of cases of dengue fever in the city of Guangzhou from 2001 until 2006.

They discovered higher minimum temperatures and lower wind speeds were associated with the highest number of cases of dengue fever. If the effects of humidity were factored into the mathematical model, the model fit actual events even better, they said. The effects of minimum temperature and humidity on the incidence of dengue fever were subject to a lag of about one month, whereas the effects of wind velocity were apparent during the same month, the scientists said.

The study is detailed in the journal BMC Public Health.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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