Health professionals' perceptions of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and climate change in China

Michael Xiaoliang Tong, Alana Hansen, Scott Hanson-Easey, Scott Cameron, Jianjun Xiang, Qiyong Liu, Xiaobo Liu, Yehuan Sun, Philip Weinstein, Gil Soo Han, Craig Williams, Peng Bi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is a serious public health problem in China. Although the incidence of HFRS sharply reduced towards the end of the twentieth century, there has been a re-emergence of the disease after 2008 in some parts of China. The aim of this study was to gauge the perceptions of health professionals in China concerning HFRS control and climate change. Methods A cross-sectional survey about HFRS and climate change was conducted among staff in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Liaoning and Anhui Provinces, where HFRS is still a public health concern. Descriptive analyses were performed to assess survey results. Results In total, 412 questionnaires were distributed, and 381 participants completed the survey. > 80% of participants thought climate change would have an influence on population health and infectious diseases. However, fewer participants (< 60%) indicated that climate change would affect rodent-borne diseases, such as hantavirus infections. More than 40% of participants in Liaoning Province thought rodent populations had increased over the last ten years while 25.5% held this opinion in Anhui Province. Sixty-seven percent of participants in Liaoning indicated that HFRS had re-emerged, whereas < 40% of participants in Anhui endorsed the statement. The majority of participants (70.9%) indicated there were rodent control programs in their area. However, less than half of participants thought these were effective in reducing HFRS incidence. Participants viewed the main risk factors for HFRS in China as being increased rodent density and infected rodents, contact with rodents, and lack of health awareness among the population. Conclusions Although most participants thought that climate change would have negative impacts on population health and infectious diseases, fewer participants believed it would contribute to the transmission of rodent-borne diseases, such as hantavirus infections. More participants in Liaoning indicated that HFRS had re-emerged, and current prevention programs, especially rodent control programs, need to be improved. Furthermore, more climate change-related research, health promotion programs, extended vaccination coverage, and better environmental management will likely be vital in addressing the threat of HFRS in the face of climate change. The results will be useful to inform HFRS control and prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Volume152
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Health professionals
  • Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
  • Infectious diseases
  • Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Oceanography

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