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"Epidemic Calendar" shows the seasonality of 69 infectious diseases



  Micaela Martinez PhD

Micaela E. Martinez

Influenza is not the only infectious disease with one season.

Analyzed Published Data, Micaela E. Martinez, PhD Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public created an "epidemic calendar" detailing the seasonality of 69 infectious diseases, including Ebola, Gonorrhea and Zika, reflects.

According to Martinez, seasonal drivers do not only affect the transmission of acute diseases. Infectious diseases such as measles also contribute to the onset of chronic infections such as hepatitis B. Their findings were published today in PLOS Pathogens.

"Seasonality has been recognized particularly for a number of acute infectious diseases ̵

1; epidemically susceptible diseases – things like influenza, cholera, polio, measles," said Martinez Infectious Disease News . "Apart from these classic epidemic-prone diseases, which were studied with great depth, the seasonality of infectious diseases has not been recognized as a ubiquitous feature of acute or chronic infectious diseases."

According to Martinez, the timing of epidemics is influenced by seasonal fluctuations – also referred to as seasonal compulsion – in the transmission of infectious diseases. Martinez said that the seasonal enforcement of some important public health diseases, such as measles, influenza and cholera, has been monitored over the past century, but that "seasonality of disease needs to be systematically and / or rigorously characterized for the majority of infections. "

Martinez collected data from the CDC, WHO and European Centers for Disease Prevention and Control websites and compiled a list of 69 communicable diseases of public interest classified as acute or chronic. Martinez also used Google Scholar to seek additional information about the seasonality of diseases.

According to Martinez, four seasonal drivers can influence the dynamics of delivery: environmental factors, host behavior, host phenology, and exogenous biotic factors. Environmental influences can affect transmission through the effects of climatic conditions such as rain or temperature on hosts and / or parasites, according to Martinez. The behavior of the host is best illustrated by the increased transmission of measles during the school year when children have more contact. The phenology of the host, says Martinez, "includes the host's life history, annual cycles (eg, migration and hibernation), and endogenous orbital rhythms (i.e., endogenous seasonal changes in physiology). Exogenous biotic factors are all "interactions that take place within hosts and interactions within the ecological community of hosts, reservoirs, and vectors."

It is known that the winter months include the influenza season. After Martinez, March begins with the Varicella season. May to July is the gonorrhea season and the transmission of polio occurred in the past every summer. According to Martinez, public health officials and civil servants could improve infection control by understanding the mechanisms of seasonality for disease.

"There must be a systematic review of the seasonality of these infectious diseases," said Martinez. "Especially for chronic infections, when we understand when people can experience relapses or flare-ups, we can anticipate and be more active with treatment or screening." – by Marley Ghizzone

Disclosure: Martinez does not report any relevant financial information.


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