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, 39 (1), 8-10

Respiratory Syncytial Virus Seasonality in Tropical Australia

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Seasonality in Tropical Australia

Stuart Paynter et al. Aust N Z J Public Health.

Abstract

Objective: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is most common during the rainy season in a number of low- to middle-income tropical settings, a pattern driven by seasonal changes in climate and nutrition. We investigated the seasonality of RSV in the high-income tropical setting of North Queensland, Australia.

Methods: We used RSV hospital admissions data from Cairns and Townsville to assess the seasonality of RSV. We examined the seasonal scale associations between selected meteorological exposures and RSV admissions using cross-correlation of weekly data.

Results: In both Cairns and Townsville, RSV admissions were highest in the latter half of the rainy season. In Cairns, RSV admissions were most strongly correlated with rainfall four weeks previously. In Townsville, RSV admissions were most strongly correlated with rainfall six weeks previously.

Conclusions: The seasonality of RSV in the tropical setting of North Queensland appears to be driven by seasonal variations in rainfall. Further research is needed to assess the impact of climate on RSV incidence in the tropics.

Keywords: Respiratory syncytial virus; climate; seasonality; tropical health.

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