Background: A large number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) outbreaks was reported during 2008 in China. However, little is known about the effects of meteorological conditions on different temporal and spatial scales on HFMD incidence in children. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between meteorological data on various temporal and spatial scales and HFMD incidence among children in Shandong Province, China.
Methods: The association between weekly HFMD cases and meteorological data on different temporal and spatial scales in Shandong Province from May 2008 to July 2008 and September 2008 to October 2008 was analyzed, using buffer analysis and the singular value decomposition method.
Results: Wind speed within a 50-km buffer circle of counties in Shandong Province with two-week lag and RH within a 10-km buffer circle of counties with eight-week lag were significantly associated with HFMD incidence. We found a positive correlation between wind speed within the 50-km buffer circle in the prior two weeks and wind speed within the province in the prior one week.
Conclusions: This study revealed strong associations between HFMD incidence in children and wind speed and RH. Thus, meteorological anomalies in the prior two or eight weeks could be used as a valid tool for detecting anomalies during the peak periods of infectious disease.