Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the main cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children. While RSV presents a significant economic and health care system burden in Australia and internationally, modelling work on RSV to date is limited with the virus having received significantly less attention than other respiratory illnesses such as influenza. In temperate regions, RSV displays strong seasonal patterns. In Perth, Western Australia, RSV detections show a distinct two-year (biennial) cycle, and similar patterns have been observed in other temperate locations, such as Finland and Germany.
I will present a compartmental model for RSV infection that incorporates sinusoidal forcing, age structure and waning immunity, and will show how this model captures the RSV dynamics observed in real world locations, with a focus on Perth. I will show how fitting the model to data for Perth, and conducting bifurcation and parameter space analysis, may help explain the different patterns in RSV detections observed globally. I will also briefly introduce my current work, where I am expanding this model with a finer age structure to assess the potential impact of a maternal vaccination strategy for RSV.