The Effect of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions Implemented in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Seasonal Respiratory Syncytial Virus: Analysis of Google Trends Data

Hersh D. Ravkin, Elad Yom-Tov, Lior Nesher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of respiratory infection in children. Despite usually following a consistent seasonal pattern, the 2020-2021 RSV season in many countries was delayed and changed in magnitude. Objective: This study aimed to test if these changes can be attributed to nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) instituted around the world to combat SARS-CoV-2. Methods: We used the internet search volume for RSV, as obtained from Google Trends, as a proxy to investigate these abnormalities. Results: Our analysis shows a breakdown of the usual correlation between peak latency and magnitude during the year of the pandemic. Analyzing latency and magnitude separately, we found that the changes therein are associated with implemented NPIs. Among several important interventions, NPIs affecting population mobility are shown to be particularly relevant to RSV incidence. Conclusions: The 2020-2021 RSV season served as a natural experiment to test NPIs that are likely to restrict RSV spread, and our findings can be used to guide health authorities to possible interventions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere42781
    JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
    Volume24
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022

    Keywords

    • COVID-19
    • Google
    • Google Trends
    • RSV
    • children
    • health
    • infection
    • intervention
    • pandemic
    • pharmaceutical
    • respiratory
    • respiratory syncytial virus
    • search engine
    • virus

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health Informatics

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