Respiratory Syncytial Virus Seasonality: A Global Overview

J Infect Dis. 2018 Apr 11;217(9):1356-1364. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy056.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of acute lower respiratory infections in children. By the age of 1 year, 60%-70% of children have been infected by RSV. In addition, early-life RSV infection is associated with the development of recurrent wheezing and asthma in infancy and childhood. The need for precise epidemiologic data regarding RSV as a worldwide pathogen has been growing steadily as novel RSV therapeutics are reaching the final stages of development. To optimize the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of RSV infection in a timely manner, knowledge about the differences in the timing of the RSV epidemics worldwide is needed. Previous analyses, based on literature reviews of individual reports obtained from medical databases, have failed to provide global country seasonality patterns. Until recently, only certain countries have been recording RSV incidence through their own surveillance systems. This analysis was based on national RSV surveillance reports and medical databases from 27 countries worldwide. This is the first study to use original-source, high-quality surveillance data to establish a global, robust, and homogeneous report on global country-specific RSV seasonality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Seasons*