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Emerg Microbes Infect. 2017 Nov 29;6(11):e104. doi: 10.1038/emi.2017.92.

Meteorological factors affect the epidemiology of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome via altering the breeding and hantavirus-carrying states of rodents and mites: a 9 years' longitudinal study.

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Department of Acute Infectious Diseases, Municipal Center of Disease Control and Prevention of Qingdao, Qingdao, China.
Department of Epidemiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.
Centre of Disease Control and Prevention of Huangdao District, Qingdao, China.
Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Huadong Research Institute for Medicine and Biotechnics, Nanjing, China.
Department of Tropical Infectious Diseases, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


The incidence of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Qingdao, China was three times higher than that of the average national level. Here we characterized the epidemiology, ecological determinants and pathogen evolution of HFRS in Qingdao during 2007-2015. In this longitudinal study, a total of 1846 HFRS patients and 41 HFRS-related deaths were reported. HFRS in Qingdao peaked once a year in the fourth quarter. We built a time series generalized additive model, and found that meteorological factors in the previous quarter could accurately predict HFRS occurrence. To explore how meteorological factors influenced the epidemic of HFRS, we analyzed the relationship between meteorological factors and hantavirus-carrying states of the hosts (including rodents and shrews). Comprehensive analysis showed humidity was correlated to high host densities in the third quarter and high hantavirus-carrying rates of animal hosts in the third to fourth quarters, which might contribute to HFRS peak in the fourth quarter. We further compared the L segments of hantaviruses from HFRS patients, animal hosts and ectoparasites. Phylogenetic analysis showed that hantaviruses in gamasid and trombiculid mites were the same as those from the hosts. This indicated mites also contributed to the transmission of hantavirus. Furthermore, Hantaan virus from HFRS patients, hosts and mites in Qingdao formed a distinct phylogenetic cluster. A new clade of Seoul virus was also identified in the hosts. Overall, meteorological factors increase HFRS incidence possibly via facilitating hosts' reproduction and consequent mite-mediated hantavirus transmission. New hantavirus subtypes evolved in Qingdao represent new challenges of fighting against HFRS.

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