Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Modelling and prediction of weekly incidence of influenza A specimens in England and Wales

J. ŠALTYTĖ BENTHa1a2 c1 and D. HOFOSSa1a3

a1 Helse Øst Health Services Research Centre, Lørenskog, Norway

a2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway

a3 University of Tromsø, Norway


We propose a rather simple model, which fits well the weekly human influenza incidence data from England and Wales. A standard way to analyse seasonally varying time-series is to decompose them into different components. The residuals obtained after eliminating these components often do not reveal time dependency and are normally distributed. We suggest that conclusions should not be drawn only on the basis of residuals and that one should consider the analysis of squared residuals. We show that squared residuals can reveal the presence of the remaining seasonal variation, which is not exhibited by the analysis of residuals, and that the modelling of such seasonal variations undoubtedly improves model fit.

(Accepted December 13 2007)

(Online publication April 07 2008)


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr J. Šaltytė Benth, Mail drawer 95, NO-1478 Lørenskog, Norway. (Email: jurate@ahus.no)