Introduction Nephropathia epidemica is a Rodent-borne disease. Changing climate has been suggested as a triggering factor of recently observed epidemiologic peaks in reported (NE). We aimed at investigating whether there is a connection between the temporal pattern in NE occurrence in Belgium and specific trends in remotely sensed phaenology parameters of broad-leaved forests together with the oak and beech seed categories and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).
Methodology The NE cases are higher in summer time than in winter time and it has a clear seasonal component. In order to the two environmental variables to quantify the dynamics of NE cases we used a dynamic harmonic Regression (DHR) model of the time series of monthly NE cases from 1996 to 2008. The selected variables were then used in a next step as inputs in multiple-inputs single-output (MISO) transfer function model to describe the NE dynamics as a function of climate and vegetation dynamics.
Results Based on the seasonal and cyclic component of NE the NAO index and oak and beach seed production categories were selected as an inputs for the MISO model. The MISO model was built to describe the incidence of NE cases from 2005 to 2008 (R2 of 0.89).
Conclusion The results of the present study support defining the significant environmental factors explaining the spread and dynamics of the disease. In this way, a first step is made towards a tool that allows monitoring and predicting the NE cases.
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