Climate variability and infectious diseases nexus: Evidence from Sweden

Infect Dis Model. 2017 May 4;2(2):203-217. doi: 10.1016/j.idm.2017.03.003. eCollection 2017 May.


Many studies on the link between climate variability and infectious diseases are based on biophysical experiments, do not account for socio-economic factors and with little focus on developed countries. This study examines the effect of climate variability and socio-economic variables on infectious diseases using data from all 21 Swedish counties. Employing static and dynamic modelling frameworks, we observe that temperature has a linear negative effect on the number of patients. The relationship between winter temperature and the number of patients is non-linear and "U" shaped in the static model. Conversely, a positive effect of precipitation on the number of patients is found, with modest heterogeneity in the effect of climate variables on the number of patients across disease classifications observed. The effect of education and number of health personnel explain the number of patients in a similar direction (negative), while population density and immigration drive up reported cases. Income explains this phenomenon non-linearly. In the dynamic setting, we found significant persistence in the number of infectious and parasitic-diseased patients, with temperature and income observed as the only significant drivers.

Keywords: Climate variability; Infectious diseases; Sweden.