Environmental factors affecting the transmission of respiratory viruses

Curr Opin Virol. 2012 Feb;2(1):90-5. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2011.12.003. Epub 2012 Jan 4.


Many viruses are capable of infecting the human respiratory tract to cause disease. These viruses display various transmission patterns among humans; however, they all share the ability to transmit from person to person, and their human transmissibility is influenced by the environment in which pathogen and host meet. This review aims to summarize recent and significant observations regarding the impact of environmental factors such as weather and climate, humidity, temperature, and airflow on the transmission of human respiratory viruses. Where possible, knowledge gaps that require further scientific study will be identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Climate
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / transmission*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / virology
  • Temperature
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena*
  • Viruses / genetics
  • Viruses / isolation & purification