Initial infection with the sentinel respiratory pathogen in children with cystic fibrosis (CF), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa), is generally with environmental strains of this ubiquitous organism. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations between meteorological and geographical factors and risk of initial Pa acquisition in young children with CF. Using the U.S. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry from 2003 to 2009, 3463 patients met inclusion criteria, of which 48% (n = 1659) acquired Pa during follow-up. From multivariable Weibull regression, increased risk of Pa acquisition was associated with increasing temperature [hazard ratio (HR) per 1 °C: 1·13; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·08-1·13], dew point (HR per 1 °C: 1·10, 95% CI 1·07-1·13), rainfall (HR per cm: 1·10, 95% CI 1·07-1·12), latitude (HR per 1 °C northing: 1·15, 95% CI 1·11-1·20), longitude (HR per 1 °C easting: 1·01, 95% CI 1·01-1·02) and elevation (HR per 100 m: 1·05, 95% CI 1·03-1·07). These results suggest that environmental factors may play a previously unrecognized role in the aetiology of initial Pa acquisition.
Keywords: Cystic fibrosis; Pseudomonas; epidemiology; paediatrics; respiratory infections.