High ambient temperature and risk of hospitalization for gastrointestinal infection in Brazil: A nationwide case-crossover study during 2000–2015

Qi Zhao, Shanshan Li, Micheline S.Z.S. Coelho, Paulo H.N. Saldiva, Rachel R. Huxley, Yuming Guo

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The burden of gastrointestinal infections related to hot ambient temperature remains largely unexplored in low-to-middle income countries which have most of the cases globally and are experiencing the greatest impact from climate change. The situation is particularly true in Brazil. Objectives: Using medical records covering over 78 % of population, we quantify the association between high temperature and risk of hospitalization for gastrointestinal infection in Brazil between 2000 and 2015. Methods: Data on hospitalization for gastrointestinal infection and weather conditions were collected from 1814 Brazilian cities during the 2000–2015 hot seasons. A time-stratified case-crossover design was used to estimate the association. Stratified analyses were performed by region, sex, age-group, type of infection and early/late study period. Results: For every 5 °C increase in mean daily temperature, the cumulative odds ratio (OR) of hospitalization over 0–9 days was 1.22 [95 % confidence interval (CI): 1.21, 1.23] at the national level, reaching its maximum in the south and its minimum in the north. The strength of association tended to decline across successive age-groups, with infants < 1 year most susceptible. The effect estimates were similar for men and women. Waterborne and foodborne infections were more associated with high temperature than the ‘others’ and ‘idiopathic’ groups. There was no substantial change in the association over the 16-year study period. Discussion: Our findings indicate that exposure to high temperature is associated with increased risk of hospitalization for gastrointestinal infection in the hot season, with the strength varying by region, population subgroup and infection type. There was no evidence to indicate adaptation to heat over the study duration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number157836
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2022


  • Ambient heat
  • Brazil
  • Gastrointestinal infection

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