Is diurnal temperature range a risk factor for childhood diarrhea?

PLoS One. 2013 May 28;8(5):e64713. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064713. Print 2013.


Background: Previous studies have found that high and cold temperatures increase the risk of childhood diarrhea. However, little is known about whether the within-day variation of temperature has any effect on childhood diarrhea.

Methods: A Poisson generalized linear regression model combined with a distributed lag non-linear model was used to examine the relationship between diurnal temperature range and emergency department admissions for diarrhea among children under five years in Brisbane, from 1st January 2003 to 31st December 2009.

Results: There was a statistically significant relationship between diurnal temperature range and childhood diarrhea. The effect of diurnal temperature range on childhood diarrhea was the greatest at one day lag, with a 3% (95% confidence interval: 2%-5%) increase of emergency department admissions per 1°C increment of diurnal temperature range.

Conclusion: Within-day variation of temperature appeared to be a risk factor for childhood diarrhea. The incidence of childhood diarrhea may increase if climate variability increases as predicted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Temperature*
  • Time Factors
  • Weather

Grant support

ZX was funded by a China Scholarship Council Postgraduate Scholarship and Queensland University of Technology fee waiving scholarship; ST was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Research Fellowship (#553043). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.