Regional Sustainability


In recent years, the number of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in China has continued to grow, and the disease has become a serious public health issue. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is located in the arid areas of Northwest China, where the epidemiological trend of HFMD is gradually increasing and characterized by geographical heterogeneity. In this study, based on the HFMD case data in all counties and cities in Xinjiang, we employed statistical and GIS spatial analyses, and geographic probe models to characterize the spatiotemporal differentiation of HFMD epidemics in Xinjiang during the period of 2009–2018, and quantitatively analyzed the factors influencing the spatial differentiation of HFMD epidemics. The results showed that HFMD incidence rate in Xinjiang had non-stationary temporal characteristics on the interannual and monthly scales, and the monthly variation characteristics of HFMD epidemic were quite different in southern and northern Xinjiang. The spatial distribution characteristics of HFMD epidemics showed a north–south spatial differentiation pattern with the Tianshan Mountains as the boundary; cold spot and hot spot of HFMD epidemics in Xinjiang have shifted from scattered to concentrated, and the spatial differentiation pattern had gradually stabilized. Moreover, the dominant factors influencing the spatial differentiation of HFMD epidemics in Xinjiang were socioeconomic factors, such as per capita GDP and urbanization rate, while the basic factors affecting its spatial differentiation were natural environmental factors. The spatial differentiation and evolution patterns of HFMD epidemics differed between northern and southern Xinjiang. Specifically, the leading role of socioeconomic factors is more obvious in southern Xinjiang than in northern Xinjiang, while natural environmental factors (e.g., dryness and relative humidity) contribute to the prevalence of HFMD epidemics in northern Xinjiang, and the perturbing effect of these factors was more prominent than other factors. The results of this study can provide a scientific basis for the prevention of HFMD epidemics and early warning of HFMD epidemics in Xinjiang.

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