Cold, dry air is associated with influenza and pneumonia mortality in Auckland, New Zealand

The relationship between weather and influenza and pneumonia mortality was examined retrospectively using daily data from 1980 to 2009 in Auckland, New Zealand, a humid, subtropical location. Mortality events, defined when mortality exceeded 0·95 standard deviation above the mean, followed periods of anomalously cold air (ta.m. = -4·1, P < 0·01; tp.m. = -4·2, P < 0·01) and/or anomalously dry air (ta.m. = -4·1, P < 0·01; tp.m. = -3·8, P < 0·01) by up to 19 days. These results suggest that respiratory infection is enhanced during unusually cold conditions and during conditions with unusually low humidity, even in a subtropical location where humidity is typically high.