Climate induces seasonality in pneumococcal transmission.
Numminen E., Chewapreecha C., Turner C., Goldblatt D., Nosten F., Bentley SD., Turner P., Corander J.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a significant human pathogen and a leading cause of infant mortality in developing countries. Considerable global variation in the pneumococcal carriage prevalence has been observed and the ecological factors contributing to it are not yet fully understood. We use data from a cohort of infants in Asia to study the effects of climatic conditions on both acquisition and clearance rates of the bacterium, finding significantly higher transmissibility during the cooler and drier months. Conversely, the length of a colonization period is unaffected by the season. Independent carriage data from studies conducted on the African and North American continents suggest similar effects of the climate on the prevalence of this bacterium, which further validates the obtained results. Further studies could be important to replicate the findings and explain the mechanistic role of cooler and dry air in the physiological response to nasopharyngeal acquisition of the pneumococcus.