Does Climate Predict the Timing of Peak Influenza Activity in the United States?


Though spatio-temporal patterns of influenza spread have often suggested that environmental factors, such as temperature, solar radiation and humidity play a key role, few studies have directly assessed their effect on the timing of annual epidemics. Finkelman et al observed a significant positive relationship between the latitudinal position of temperate countries and epidemic timing. It is hypothesized that during winter months, in temperate regions, decreased skin exposure to sunlight affects immune function by altering the production of certain immunomodulators (e.g. melatonin and Vitamin D3). Other studies have linked temperature and humidity conditions to the rate of transmission of the influenza virus.



To assess the strength of the association between peak influenza activity and dew point, average daily temperature, solar radiation, latitude and longitude so that we may better understand the factors that affect virus transmission and/or innate immunity and to determine whether these climate variables should be used as covariates in the surveillance of influenza.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
September, 2005

July 30, 2018

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