J Pediatr Infect Dis 2008; 03(01): 041-045
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1556966
Original Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart – New York

Seasonality and epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus in Qatar

Asma Al-Thani
a  Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Arts, University of Qatar, Doha, Qatar
,
Mamoun Elsheikh
b  Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Hamad General Hospital and Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
,
Mohammed Janahi
c  Department of Pediatrics, Hamad General Hospital and Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
,
Ajayeb Al-Marri
b  Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Hamad General Hospital and Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
,
Huseyin Caksen
d  Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Yuzuncu Yil University, Van, Turkiye
,
Abdulbari Bener
e  Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, Hamad General Hospital and Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
f  Department Evidence for Population Health Unit, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

09 November 2007

15 January 2008

Publication Date:
28 July 2015 (online)

Abstract

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major cause of acute lower respiratory tract infections in early childhood. Annual epidemics occur which are well documented in developed countries during winter months, placing considerable pressure on the provision of health care. Little is known about the epidemiology of RSV infections in the Middle East and other desert climate regions of the world. The objective of this study was to determine the infection rate and seasonality of RSV among children 2 years old or younger and its correlation with meteorological data in Qatar. A retrospective descriptive hospital-based population study was conducted. Data of RSV infection detected from children at Pediatric Emergency Centre in the Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, State of Qatar from January 2002 to September 2007, were collected. Meteorological data from Department of Civil Aviation were collected during the period of January 2002 – September 2007 and were used to determine the mean monthly temperature, relative humidity, evaporation, rainfall and wind speed. A total of 3121 children below 2 years of age were screened for a possible infection for RSV during the study period. 26.3% of the total children screened tested positive for RSV (infection rate) with the highest annual rate of 35.3% in 2003 and the lowest rate of 13.2% in 2007. RSV was found to be a major cause of hospital admission in children during the winter months of November – January every year. The peak of mean relative humidity significantly coincided with the peak of RSV infection rate (P = 0.0039 and r = 0.7682), and there was a significant inverse correlation between the monthly mean temperature and RSV infection (P = 0.0061 and r = −0.7384). The pattern of RSV infections showed a clear seasonality in that infections were mostly encountered during winter and after rainfall. Further studies should focus on the significance of RSV infections in other age groups or in other infections with other respiratory viruses.