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Relationships between climate and flu

on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 16:25

Climate may have an influence on the spread of flu. This is the conclusion of a study from a team of American researchers, led by Cécile Viboud, from the National Institutes of Health's Fogarty International Center, recently published on PLoS Pathogens.
The authors of the study assessed the role of specific humidity and other local climatic variables on influenza virus seasonality by examining the peaks of influenza virus activity in 78 sites sampled globally. They discovered that temperature and specific humidity were the best indicators of these peaks, and identified the threshold values for both the “cold-dry” and “humid-rainy” environments associated with seasonal influenza epidemics.
Their work improves existing influenza transmission models by integrating an accurate analysis of environmental effects on transmission processes. Such a result could become useful to predict the seasonal timing of influenza activity on the basis of climate conditions, even in those areas where little or no observational data are available.

PLoS Pathogens: