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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Meteorological factors and risk of scrub typhus in Guangzhou, southern China, 2006–2012

Tiegang Li, Zhicong Yang, Zhiqiang Dong and Ming Wang*

Author Affiliations

Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, No 1, Qide Rd, Jiahe, Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province 510440, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:139  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-139

Published: 12 March 2014



Scrub typhus is becoming the most common vector born disease in Guangzhou, southern China. In this study, we aimed to examine the effect of weather patterns on the incidence of Scrub typhus in the subtropical city of Guangzhou for the period 2006–2012, and assist public health prevention and control measures.


Scrub typhus reported cases during the period of 2006–2012 in Guangzhou were obtained from National Notifiable Disease Report System (NNDRS). Simultaneous meteorological data including temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, sunshine, and rainfall were obtained from the documentation of the Guangzhou Meteorological Bureau. A negative binomial regression was used to identify the relationship between meteorological variables and scrub typhus.


Annual incidence rates of scrub typhus from 2006 to 2012 were 3.25, 2.67, 3.81, 4.22, 4.41, 5.12, and 9.75 (per 100 000) respectively. Each 1°C rise in temperature corresponded to an increase of 14.98% (95% CI 13.65% to 16.33%) in the monthly number of scrub typhus cases, while a 1 hPa rise in atmospheric pressure corresponded to a decrease in the number of cases by 8.03% (95% CI −8.75% to −7.31%). Similarly, a 1 hour rise in sunshine corresponded to an increase of 0.17% or 0.54%, and a 1 millimeter rise in rainfall corresponded to an increase of 0.05% or 0.10%, in the monthly number of scrub typhus cases, depending on the variables considered in the model.


Our study provided evidence that climatic factors were associated with occurrence of scrub typhus in Guangzhou city, China. Temperature, duration of sunshine, and rainfall were positively associated with scrub typhus incidence, while atmospheric pressure was inversely associated with scrub typhus incidence. These findings should be considered in the prediction of future patterns of scrub typhus transmission.

Scrub typhus; Meteorological variables; Risk factor; Correlation; Early warning