Are meteorological parameters associated with acute respiratory tract infections?

Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Sep 15;49(6):861-8. doi: 10.1086/605435.


Background: Information on the onset of epidemics of acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs) is useful in timing preventive strategies (eg, the passive immunization of high-risk infants against respiratory syncytial virus [RSV]). Aiming at better predictions of the seasonal activity of ARI pathogens, we investigated the influence of climate on hospitalizations for ARIs.

Methods: Samples obtained from 3044 children hospitalized with ARIs in Mainz, Germany, were tested for pathogens with a multiplex reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay from 2001 through 2006. Hospitalizations for ARIs were correlated with meteorological parameters recorded at the University of Mainz. The frequency of hospitalization for RSV infection was predicted on the basis of multiple time series analysis.

Results: Influenza A, RSV, and adenovirus were correlated with temperature and rhinovirus to relative humidity. In a time series model that included seasonal and climatic conditions, RSV-associated hospitalizations were predictable.

Conclusions: Seasonality of certain ARI pathogens can be explained by meteorological influences. The model presented herein is a first step toward predicting annual RSV epidemics using weather forecast data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adenoviridae / isolation & purification
  • Adenovirus Infections, Human / epidemiology
  • Adenovirus Infections, Human / etiology
  • Child
  • Climate*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / etiology
  • Picornaviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Picornaviridae Infections / etiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / etiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / isolation & purification
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / virology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rhinovirus / isolation & purification
  • Seasons
  • Temperature