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Open Access Research article

Temporal trend and climate factors of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome epidemic in Shenyang City, China

Xiaodong Liu124, Baofa Jiang14*, Weidong Gu56 and Qiyong Liu234*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Shandong University, Shandong, PR China

2 State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC

3 China CDC Key Laboratory of Surveillance and Early-Warning on Infectious Disease, Beijing, PR China

4 Shandong University Climate Change and Health Center, Shandong, PR China

5 Division of Infectious Diseases, William C. Gorgas Center for Geographic Medicine, University Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, USA

6 EDEB/NCEZID/CDC, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:331  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-331

Published: 2 December 2011



Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is an important infectious disease caused by different species of hantaviruses. As a rodent-borne disease with a seasonal distribution, external environmental factors including climate factors may play a significant role in its transmission. The city of Shenyang is one of the most seriously endemic areas for HFRS. Here, we characterized the dynamic temporal trend of HFRS, and identified climate-related risk factors and their roles in HFRS transmission in Shenyang, China.


The annual and monthly cumulative numbers of HFRS cases from 2004 to 2009 were calculated and plotted to show the annual and seasonal fluctuation in Shenyang. Cross-correlation and autocorrelation analyses were performed to detect the lagged effect of climate factors on HFRS transmission and the autocorrelation of monthly HFRS cases. Principal component analysis was constructed by using climate data from 2004 to 2009 to extract principal components of climate factors to reduce co-linearity. The extracted principal components and autocorrelation terms of monthly HFRS cases were added into a multiple regression model called principal components regression model (PCR) to quantify the relationship between climate factors, autocorrelation terms and transmission of HFRS. The PCR model was compared to a general multiple regression model conducted only with climate factors as independent variables.


A distinctly declining temporal trend of annual HFRS incidence was identified. HFRS cases were reported every month, and the two peak periods occurred in spring (March to May) and winter (November to January), during which, nearly 75% of the HFRS cases were reported. Three principal components were extracted with a cumulative contribution rate of 86.06%. Component 1 represented MinRH0, MT1, RH1, and MWV1; component 2 represented RH2, MaxT3, and MAP3; and component 3 represented MaxT2, MAP2, and MWV2. The PCR model was composed of three principal components and two autocorrelation terms. The association between HFRS epidemics and climate factors was better explained in the PCR model (F = 446.452, P < 0.001, adjusted R2 = 0.75) than in the general multiple regression model (F = 223.670, P < 0.000, adjusted R2 = 0.51).


The temporal distribution of HFRS in Shenyang varied in different years with a distinctly declining trend. The monthly trends of HFRS were significantly associated with local temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, air pressure, and wind velocity of the different previous months. The model conducted in this study will make HFRS surveillance simpler and the control of HFRS more targeted in Shenyang.