Dengue fever is one of the leading public health problems of tropical and subtropical countries across the world. Transmission dynamics of dengue fever is largely affected by meteorological and environmental factors, and its temporal pattern generally peaks in hot-wet periods of the year. Despite this continuously growing problem, the temporal dynamics of dengue fever and associated potential environmental risk factors are not documented in Nepal. The aim of this study was to fill this research gap by utilizing epidemiological and earth observation data in Chitwan district, one of the frequent dengue outbreak areas of Nepal. We used laboratory confirmed monthly dengue cases as a dependent variable and a set of remotely sensed meteorological and environmental variables as explanatory factors to describe their temporal relationship. Descriptive statistics, cross correlation analysis, and the Poisson generalized additive model were used for this purpose. Results revealed that dengue fever is significantly associated with satellite estimated precipitation, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and enhanced vegetation index (EVI) synchronously and with different lag periods. However, the associations were weak and insignificant with immediate daytime land surface temperature (dLST) and nighttime land surface temperature (nLST), but were significant after 4–5 months. Conclusively, the selected Poisson generalized additive model based on the precipitation, dLST, and NDVI explained the largest variation in monthly distribution of dengue fever with minimum Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC) and maximum R-squared. The best fit model further significantly improved after including delayed effects in the model. The predicted cases were reasonably accurate based on the comparison of 10-fold cross validation and observed cases. The lagged association found in this study could be useful for the development of remote sensing-based early warning forecasts of dengue fever.
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