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  1. Abstract

    Climate change is adversely impacting the burden of diarrheal diseases. Despite significant reduction in global prevalence, diarrheal disease remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among young children in low- and middle-income countries. Previous studies have shown that diarrheal disease is associated with meteorological conditions but the role of large-scale climate phenomena such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and monsoon anomaly is less understood. We obtained 13 years (2002–2014) of diarrheal disease data from Nepal and investigated how the disease rate is associated with phases of ENSO (El Niño, La Niña, vs. ENSO neutral) monsoon rainfall anomaly (below normal, above normal, vs. normal), and changes in timing of monsoon onset, and withdrawal (early, late, vs. normal). Monsoon season was associated with a 21% increase in diarrheal disease rates (Incident Rate Ratios [IRR]: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.16–1.27). El Niño was associated with an 8% reduction in risk while the La Niña was associated with a 32% increase in under-5 diarrheal disease rates. Likewise, higher-than-normal monsoon rainfall was associated with increased rates of diarrheal disease, with considerably higher rates observed in the mountain region (IRR 1.51, 95% CI: 1.19–1.92). Our findings suggest that under-5 diarrheal disease burden in Nepal ismore »significantly influenced by ENSO and changes in seasonal monsoon dynamics. Since both ENSO phases and monsoon can be predicted with considerably longer lead time compared to weather, our findings will pave the way for the development of more effective early warning systems for climate sensitive infectious diseases.

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  2. Introduction: The incidence of diarrhea, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in low-income countries such as Nepal, is temperature-sensitive, suggesting it could be associated with climate change. With climate change fueled increases in the mean and variability of temperature and precipitation, the incidence of water and food-borne diseases are increasing, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This national-level ecological study was undertaken to provide evidence linking weather and climate with diarrhea incidence in Nepal. Method: We analyzed monthly diarrheal disease count and meteorological data from all districts, spanning 15 eco-development regions of Nepal. Meteorological data and monthly data on diarrheal disease were sourced, respectively, from the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology and Health Management Information System (HMIS) of the Government of Nepal for the period from 2002 to 2014. Time-series log-linear regression models assessed the relationship between maximum temperature, minimum temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, and diarrhea burden. Predictors with p-values < 0.25 were retained in the fitted models. Results: Overall, diarrheal disease incidence in Nepal significantly increased with 1 °C increase in mean temperature (4.4%; 95% CI: 3.95, 4.85) and 1 cm increase in rainfall (0.28%; 95% CI: 0.15, 0.41). Seasonal variation of diarrheal incidence was prominent atmore »the national level (11.63% rise in diarrheal cases in summer (95% CI: 4.17, 19.61) and 14.5% decrease in spring (95% CI: −18.81, −10.02) compared to winter season). Moreover, the effects of temperature and rainfall were highest in the mountain region compared to other ecological regions of Nepal. Conclusion: Our study provides empirical evidence linking weather factors and diarrheal disease burden in Nepal. This evidence suggests that additional climate change could increase diarrheal disease incidence across the nation. Mountainous regions are more sensitive to climate variability and consequently the burden of diarrheal diseases. These findings can be utilized to allocate necessary resources and envision a weather-based early warning system for the prevention and control of diarrheal diseases in Nepal.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Climate change driven increases in the frequency of extreme heat events (EHE) and extreme precipitation events (EPE) are contributing to both infectious and non-infectious disease burden, particularly in urban city centers. While the share of urban populations continues to grow, a comprehensive assessment of populations impacted by these threats is lacking. Using data from weather stations, climate models, and urban population growth during 1980–2017, here, we show that the concurrent rise in the frequency of EHE, EPE, and urban populations has resulted in over 500% increases in individuals exposed to EHE and EPE in the 150 most populated cities of the world. Since most of the population increases over the next several decades are projected to take place in city centers within low- and middle-income countries, skillful early warnings and community specific response strategies are urgently needed to minimize public health impacts and associated costs to the global economy.