Non-linear effect of temperature variation on childhood rotavirus infection: A time series study from Kathmandu, Nepal

Dinesh Bhandari, Peng Bi, Meghnath Dhimal, Jeevan Bahadur Sherchand, Scott Hanson-Easey

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Introduction: This study aimed to investigate the effects of temperature variability on rotavirus infections among children under 5 years of age in Kathmandu, Nepal. Findings may inform infection control planning, especially in relation to the role of environmental factors in the transmission of rotavirus infection. Methods: Generalized linear Poisson regression equations with distributed lag non-linear model were fitted to estimate the effect of temperature (maximum, mean and minimum) variation on weekly counts of rotavirus infections among children under 5 years of age living in Kathmandu, Nepal, over the study period (2013 to 2016). Seasonality and long-term effects were adjusted in the model using Fourier terms up to the seventh harmonic and a time function, respectively. We further adjusted the model for the confounding effects of rainfall and relative humidity. Results: During the study period, a total of 733 cases of rotavirus infection were recorded, with a mean of 3 cases per week. We detected an inverse non-linear association between rotavirus infection and average weekly mean temperature, with increased risk (RR: 1.52; 95% CI: 1.08–2.15) at the lower quantile (10th percentile) and decreased risk (RR: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.43–0.95) at the higher quantile (75th percentile). Similarly, we detected an increased risk [(RR: 1.93; 95% CI: 1.40–2.65) and (RR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.04–1.95)] of rotavirus infection for both maximum and minimum temperature at their lower quantile (10th percentile). We estimated that 344 (47.01%) cases of rotavirus diarrhoea among the children under 5 years of age were attributable to minimum temperature. The significant effect of temperature on rotavirus infection was not observed beyond lag zero week. Conclusion: An inverse non-linear association was estimated between rotavirus incidence and all three indices of temperature, indicating a higher risk of infection during the cooler times of the year, and suggesting that transmission of rotavirus in Kathmandu, Nepal may be influenced by temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141376
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Environmental factors
  • Epidemiology
  • Nepal
  • Rotavirus

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