A large temperature fluctuation may trigger an epidemic erythromelalgia outbreak in China
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Although erythromelalgia (EM) has been documented in the literature for almost 150 years, it is still poorly understood. To overcome this limitation, we examined the spatial distribution of epidemic EM, and explored the association between temperature fluctuation and epidemic EM outbreaks in China. We searched all peer-reviewed literature on primary epidemic EM outbreaks in China. A two-stage model was used to characterize the relationship between temperature fluctuation and epidemic EM outbreaks. We observed that epidemic EM outbreaks were reported from 13 provinces during 1960–2014 and they mainly occurred between February and March in southern China. The majority of EM cases were middle school students, with a higher incidence rate in female and resident students. The major clinical characteristics of EM cases included burning, sharp, tingling and/or stinging pain in toes, soles and/or dorsum of feet, fever, erythema and swelling. A large “V”-shaped fluctuation of daily average temperature (TM) observed during the epidemic EM outbreaks was significantly associated with the number of daily EM cases (β = 1.22, 95%CI: 0.66 ~ 1.79), which indicated that this “V”-shaped fluctuation of TM probably triggered the epidemic EM outbreaks.