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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 25;8(10):e76020. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076020. eCollection 2013.

A method to assess seasonality of urinary tract infections based on medication sales and google trends.

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Département de médecine générale, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Paris, France ; UMRS 707, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Paris, France ; U707, INSERM, Paris, France.



Despite the fact that urinary tract infection (UTI) is a very frequent disease, little is known about its seasonality in the community.


To estimate seasonality of UTI using multiple time series constructed with available proxies of UTI. Eight time series based on two databases were used: sales of urinary antibacterial medications reported by a panel of pharmacy stores in France between 2000 and 2012, and search trends on the Google search engine for UTI-related terms between 2004 and 2012 in France, Germany, Italy, the USA, China, Australia and Brazil. Differences between summers and winters were statistically assessed with the Mann-Whitney test. We evaluated seasonality by applying the Harmonics Product Spectrum on Fast Fourier Transform. Seven time series out of eight displayed a significant increase in medication sales or web searches in the summer compared to the winter, ranging from 8% to 20%. The eight time series displayed a periodicity of one year. Annual increases were seen in the summer for UTI drug sales in France and Google searches in France, the USA, Germany, Italy, and China. Increases occurred in the austral summer for Google searches in Brazil and Australia.


An annual seasonality of UTIs was evidenced in seven different countries, with peaks during the summer.

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