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In order to assess the influence of atmospheric conditions and particulate matter (PM) on the seasonally varying incidence of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) in the capital of Poland-Warsaw, we analysed time series of ILI reported for the about 1.75 million residents in total and for different age groups in 288 approximately weekly periods, covering 6 years 2013-2018. Using Poisson regression, we predicted ILI by the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) as biometeorological indicator, and by PM2.5 and PM10, respectively, as air quality measures accounting for lagged effects spanning up to 3 weeks. Excess ILI incidence after adjusting for seasonal and annual trends was calculated by fitting generalized additive models. ILI morbidity increased with rising PM concentrations, for both PM2.5 and PM10, and with cooler atmospheric conditions as indicated by decreasing UTCI. While the PM effect focused on the actual reporting period, the atmospheric influence exhibited a more evenly distributed lagged effect pattern over the considered 3-week period. Though ILI incidence adjusted for population size significantly declined with age, age did not significantly modify the effect sizes of both PM and UTCI. These findings contribute to better understanding environmental conditionings of influenza seasonality in a temperate climate. This will be beneficial to forecasting future dynamics of ILI and to planning clinical and public health resources under climate change scenarios.


Katarzyna Lindner-Cendrowska, Peter Bröde. Impact of biometeorological conditions and air pollution on influenza-like illnesses incidence in Warsaw. International journal of biometeorology. 2021 Jun;65(6):929-944

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PMID: 33454853

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