Epidemiology and Infection

Cambridge Journals Online - CUP Full-Text Page
Epidemiology and Infection (2010), 138:226-235 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

Original Papers

Climate and infection

Incidence of common respiratory viral infections related to climate factors in hospitalized children in Hong Kong

J. W. TANGa1 c1, F. Y. L. LAIa3, F. WONGa1 and K. L. E. HONa2

a1 Department of Microbiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China
a2 Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China
a3 Statistics and Research Unit, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong SAR, China
Article author query
tang jw [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
lai fyl [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
wong f [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
hon kle [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Hong Kong has a subtropical climate and an influenza seasonality lying approximately mid-way (March–June) between those of the Northern (November–March) and Southern (June–September) hemispheres. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shares a similar seasonality to that of influenza in Hong Kong and is another important respiratory infection of childhood. Daily virus incidence data from public hospitals in Hong Kong's New Territory East Cluster, together with Hong Kong climate data were obtained for 2000–2007. Statistical time-series analysis using monthly time windows showed that influenza A and RSV incidence increased with higher environmental relative humidity, whereas influenza B incidence decreased with higher environmental temperatures. The other climate variables (including vapour pressure as a measure of absolute humidity) were not significantly related to the incidence of these respiratory viruses. Data from this study further reinforces the concept that the relationship between climate factors and respiratory virus incidence differ between subtropical/tropical and temperate countries.

(Accepted June 30 2009)

(Online publication July 27 2009)

Key Words:Climate; incidence; relative humidity; respiratory; temperature; time-series analysis; virus


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr J. W. Tang, Department of Laboratory Medicine National University Hospital, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119074. (Email: jwtang49@hotmail.com)