Rainfall, household crowding, and acute respiratory infections in the tropics

E. L. Murray, M. Klein, L. Brondi, J. E. McGowan, C. Van Mels, W. A. Brooks, D. Kleinbaum, D. Goswami, P. B. Ryan, C. B. Bridges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Acute respiratory infections (ARI) are the leading cause of death worldwide in children aged <5 years, and understanding contributing factors to their seasonality is important for targeting and implementing prevention strategies. In tropical climates, ARI typically peak during the pre-rainy and rainy seasons. One hypothesis is that rainfall leads to more time spent indoors, thus increasing exposure to other people and in turn increasing the risk of ARI. A case-crossover study design in 718 Bangladeshi children aged <5 years was used to evaluate this hypothesis. During a 3-month period with variable rainfall, rainfall was associated with ARI [odds ratio (OR) 2·97, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·87-4·70]; some evidence of an increased strength of association as household crowding increased was found (≥3 people/room, OR 3·31, 95% CI 2·03-5·38), but there was a lack of association in some of the most crowded households (≥5 to <6 people/room, OR 1·55, 95% CI 0·54-4·47). These findings suggest that rainfall may be increasing exposure to crowded conditions, thus leading to an increased risk of ARI, but that additional factors not captured by this analysis may also play a role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalEpidemiology and infection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate
  • influenza
  • paediatrics
  • respiratory infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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