Weather, Climate, and Influenza in the United States: An Exploration of the Flu Season

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Erin Marie Markovich, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL; and E. R. Snodgrass

Every year in the United States alone millions of people fall victim to influenza and thousands of those individuals die from its symptoms. Most cases and deaths occur between November and March. This project was designed to further investigate the seasonality of the “flu season” that exists each year. The research completed assesses the correlation between weather or climate based variables and influenza viruses to better understand the strength, range, and timing of the flu in the United States and how weather can be used as a prediction tool. With the use of past weather model data and the Center for Disease Controls' FluView and FluVaxView Interactive, notable correlations are compiled and analyzed for the flu seasons from 1997-98 to 2013-14 on children and adults. Different regions of the United States including the Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest, are analyzed separately to explore the effects of climate and latitude.