University of Pittsburgh
Influenza seasonality is caused by complex interactions between environmental factors, viral mutations, population crowding, and human travel. To date, no studies have estimated the seasonality and latitudinal patterns of seasonal influenza in Chile. We obtained influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance data from 29 Chilean public health networks to evaluate seasonality using wavelet analysis. We assessed the relationship between the start, peak, and latitude of the ILI epidemics using linear and piecewise regression. To estimate the presence of incoming and outgoing traveling waves (timing vs distance) between networks and to assess the association with population size, we used linear and logistic regression. We found a north to south gradient of influenza and traveling waves that were present in the central, densely populated region of Chile. Our findings suggest that larger populations in central Chile drive seasonal influenza epidemics.