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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1560-1576; doi:10.3390/ijerph120201560

Identifying Meteorological Drivers for the Seasonal Variations of Influenza Infections in a Subtropical City — Hong Kong

1
Division of Biostatistics, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
2
Clinical Trials and Biostatistics Lab, Shenzhen Research Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jeffrey Shaman
Received: 29 October 2014 / Revised: 12 January 2015 / Accepted: 22 January 2015 / Published: 28 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
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Abstract

Compared with temperate areas, the understanding of seasonal variations of influenza infections is lacking in subtropical and tropical regions. Insufficient information about viral activity increases the difficulty of forecasting the disease burden and thus hampers official preparation efforts. Here we identified potential meteorological factors that drove the seasonal variations in influenza infections in a subtropical city, Hong Kong. We fitted the meteorological data and influenza mortality data from 2002 to 2009 in a Susceptible-Infected-Recovered model. From the results, air temperature was a common significant driver of seasonal patterns and cold temperature was associated with an increase in transmission intensity for most of the influenza epidemics. Except 2004, the fitted models with significant meteorological factors could account for more than 10% of the variance in additional to the null model. Rainfall was also found to be a significant driver of seasonal influenza, although results were less robust. The identified meteorological indicators could alert officials to take appropriate control measures for influenza epidemics, such as enhancing vaccination activities before cold seasons. Further studies are required to fully justify the associations. View Full-Text
Keywords: temperature; influenza; seasonality; transmission rate; epidemic; SIR model temperature; influenza; seasonality; transmission rate; epidemic; SIR model
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Chong, K.C.; Goggins, W.; Zee, B.C.Y.; Wang, M.H. Identifying Meteorological Drivers for the Seasonal Variations of Influenza Infections in a Subtropical City — Hong Kong. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 1560-1576.

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