The influence of weather on community gastroenteritis in Australia
Posted: April 29th, 2011 - 1:44pm
Source: Epidemiology and Infection (2011), 139: 927-936
Infectious gastroenteritis is a common illness in Australia as elsewhere. Data from a year-long national gastroenteritis survey in 2001–2002 showed that gastroenteritis was more common in the northern and hotter part of Australia. These data were used to quantify associations between local weather variables and gastroenteritis in people aged >5 years while controlling for socioeconomic status. A distributed lag model was used to examine the influence of weather over a period of days prior to an event and the maximal effect was found at a lag of 2–5 days. The total effect over the preceding week indicated a relative increase from baseline in the probability of gastroenteritis of 2·48% (95% CI 1·01–3·97) for each degree rise (°C) over that period. Given the very high burden of gastroenteritis, this represents a substantial effect at the population level and has relevance for health predictions due to climate change.