Global Seasonal Activities of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Before the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: A Systematic Review

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2024 Apr 25;11(5):ofae238. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofae238. eCollection 2024 May.


Varied seasonal patterns of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have been reported worldwide. We conducted a systematic review on articles identified in PubMed reporting RSV seasonality based on data collected before 1 January 2020. RSV seasonal patterns were examined by geographic location, calendar month, analytic method, and meteorological factors including temperature and absolute humidity. Correlation and regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationship between RSV seasonality and study methods and characteristics of study locations. RSV seasons were reported in 209 articles published in 1973-2023 for 317 locations in 77 countries. Regular RSV seasons were similarly reported in countries in temperate regions, with highly variable seasons identified in subtropical and tropical countries. Longer durations of RSV seasons were associated with a higher daily average mean temperature and daily average mean absolute humidity. The global seasonal patterns of RSV provided important information for optimizing interventions against RSV infection.

Keywords: activity; global; pre-pandemic; respiratory syncytial virus; seasonality.

Publication types

  • Review