The King Laboratory
of Theoretical Ecology & Evolution
at the University of Michigan

Age-specific epidemic waves of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus in a subtropical city

L. Yang, K. H. Chan, L. K. P. Suen, K. P. Chan, X. Wang, P. Cao, D. He, J. S. M. Peiris, and C. M. Wong
Scientific Reports 5:  10390, 2015.

Both influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are active throughout the year in subtropical or tropical regions, but few studies have reported on age-specific seasonal patterns of these viruses. We examined the age-specific epidemic curves of laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A (subtyped into seasonal A(H1N1), A(H3N2), and pandemic virus A(H1N1)pdm09), influenza B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), in subtropical city Hong Kong from 2004 to 2013. We found that different types and subtypes of influenza showed similar two-peak patterns across age groups, with one peak in winter and another in spring/summer. Age differences were found in epidemic onset time and duration, but none could reach statistical significance (p > 0.05). Age synchrony was found in epidemic peak time for both cool and warm seasons. RSV showed less clear seasonal patterns and non-synchronized epidemic curves across age. In conclusion, age synchrony was found in influenza seasonal epidemics and the 2009 pandemic, but not in RSV. None of the age groups consistently appear as the driving force for seasonal epidemics of influenza and RSV in Hong Kong.

The official version of the paper is here.  

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