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Article

Climate Trends at a Hotspot of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Causes in Nicaragua, 1973–2014

1
Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
2
ISGlobal, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
3
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
4
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), 08002 Barcelona, Spain
5
Faculty of Health Sciences, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
6
CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), 28029 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105418
Received: 28 April 2021 / Revised: 10 May 2021 / Accepted: 11 May 2021 / Published: 19 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health in Latin America and the Caribbean)
An ongoing epidemic of chronic kidney disease of uncertain etiology (CKDu) afflicts large parts of Central America and is hypothesized to be linked to heat stress at work. Mortality rates from CKDu appear to have increased dramatically since the 1970s. To explore this relationship, we assessed trends in maximum and minimum temperatures during harvest months between 1973 and 2014 as well as in the number of days during the harvest season for which the maximum temperature surpassed 35 °C. Data were collected at a weather station at a Nicaraguan sugar company where large numbers of workers have been affected by CKDu. Monthly averages of the daily maximum temperatures between 1996 and 2014 were also compared to concurrent weather data from eight Automated Surface Observing System Network weather stations across Nicaragua. Our objectives were to assess changes in temperature across harvest seasons, estimate the number of days that workers were at risk of heat-related illness and compare daily maximum temperatures across various sites in Nicaragua. The monthly average daily maximum temperature during the harvest season increased by 0.7 °C per decade between 1973 and 1990. The number of days per harvest season with a maximum temperature over 35 °C increased by approximately five days per year between 1974 and 1990, from 32 days to 114 days. Between 1991 and 2013, the number of harvest days with a maximum temperature over 35 °C decreased by two days per year, and the monthly average daily maximum temperature decreased by 0.3 °C per decade. Comparisons with weather stations across Nicaragua demonstrate that this company is located in one of the consistently hottest regions of the country. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat stress; occupational heat exposure; historical weather trends; Central America heat stress; occupational heat exposure; historical weather trends; Central America
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MDPI and ACS Style

Petropoulos, Z.E.; Ramirez-Rubio, O.; Scammell, M.K.; Laws, R.L.; Lopez-Pilarte, D.; Amador, J.J.; Ballester, J.; O’Callaghan-Gordo, C.; Brooks, D.R. Climate Trends at a Hotspot of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Causes in Nicaragua, 1973–2014. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 5418. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105418

AMA Style

Petropoulos ZE, Ramirez-Rubio O, Scammell MK, Laws RL, Lopez-Pilarte D, Amador JJ, Ballester J, O’Callaghan-Gordo C, Brooks DR. Climate Trends at a Hotspot of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Causes in Nicaragua, 1973–2014. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(10):5418. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105418

Chicago/Turabian Style

Petropoulos, Zoe E., Oriana Ramirez-Rubio, Madeleine K. Scammell, Rebecca L. Laws, Damaris Lopez-Pilarte, Juan J. Amador, Joan Ballester, Cristina O’Callaghan-Gordo, and Daniel R. Brooks. 2021. "Climate Trends at a Hotspot of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Causes in Nicaragua, 1973–2014" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 10: 5418. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105418

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