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Occurrence of human respiratory syncytial virus in summer in Japan

  • Y. SHOBUGAWA (a1), T. TAKEUCHI (a1), A. HIBINO (a1), M. R. HASSAN (a2), R. YAGAMI (a1), H. KONDO (a1), T. ODAGIRI (a1) and R. SAITO (a1)...


In temperate zones, human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) outbreaks typically occur in cold weather, i.e. in late autumn and winter. However, recent outbreaks in Japan have tended to start during summer and autumn. This study examined associations of meteorological conditions with the numbers of HRSV cases reported in summer in Japan. Using data from the HRSV national surveillance system and national meteorological data for summer during the period 2007–2014, we utilized negative binomial logistic regression analysis to identify associations between meteorological conditions and reported cases of HRSV. HRSV cases increased when summer temperatures rose and when relative humidity increased. Consideration of the interaction term temperature × relative humidity enabled us to show synergistic effects of high temperature with HRSV occurrence. In particular, HRSV cases synergistically increased when relative humidity increased while the temperature was ⩾28·2 °C. Seasonal-trend decomposition analysis using the HRSV national surveillance data divided by 11 climate divisions showed that summer HRSV cases occurred in South Japan (Okinawa Island), Kyushu, and Nankai climate divisions, which are located in southwest Japan. Higher temperature and higher relative humidity were necessary conditions for HRSV occurrence in summer in Japan. Paediatricians in temperate zones should be mindful of possible HRSV cases in summer, when suitable conditions are present.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr Y. Shobugawa, Division of International Health (Public Health), Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, 1-757 Asahimachi-dori Chuo-ku, Niigata City, Niigata, 951-8510 Japan. (Email:


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