Impact of meteorological factors on lower respiratory tract infections in children

J Int Med Res. 2016 Feb;44(1):30-41. doi: 10.1177/0300060515586007. Epub 2015 Dec 10.


Objective: To evaluate retrospectively the relationship between meteorological factors in Shenmu County, Yulin City, Shaanxi Province, China and the incidence of lower respiratory tract infections in children.

Methods: Meteorological data (air temperature, atmospheric pressure, rainfall, hours of sunlight, wind speed and relative humidity) for Shenmu County and medical data from hospitalized patients aged ≤16 years were collected between January 2009 and December 2012. The association between meteorological factors and rate of hospitalization due to lower respiratory tract infections was investigated; the total hospitalization rate was compared with the rate of lower respiratory tract disease-related hospitalizations.

Results: The leading bacterial causes of lower respiratory tract infections were Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type B; the main viral cause was respiratory syncytial virus. Lower respiratory tract infection hospitalization rate was significantly correlated with air temperature (R = -0.651), atmospheric pressure (R = 0.560), rainfall (R = -0.614) and relative humidity (R = -0.470), but not with hours of sunlight (R = -0.210) or wind speed (R = 0.258). Using multiple linear regression, lower respiratory tract infection hospitalization rate decreased with a gradual increase in air temperature (F = 38.30) and relative humidity (F = 15.58).

Conclusion: Air temperature and relative humidity were major influencing meteorological factors for hospital admissions in children due to lower respiratory tract infections.

Keywords: Hospitalized children; Lower respiratory tract infection; Meteorological factors; Relative humidity; Respiratory syncytial virus; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Temperature.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Meteorological Concepts*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / physiopathology