Desert dust outbreaks and respiratory morbidity in Athens, Greece

TitleDesert dust outbreaks and respiratory morbidity in Athens, Greece
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsTrianti S.M, Samoli E., Rodopoulou S., Katsouyanni K., Papiris S.A, Karakatsani A.
JournalEnviron Health
Date PublishedJul 1
ISBN Number1476-069x
Accession Number28666479
Keywords*Desert dust, *Particulate matter, *Pm10, *Respiratory morbidity, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Air Pollutants/*analysis, Dust/*analysis, Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data, Environmental Monitoring, Female, Greece/epidemiology, Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Nitrogen Dioxide/analysis, Ozone/analysis, Respiratory Tract Diseases/*epidemiology, Sulfur Dioxide/analysis, Young Adult

BACKGROUND: Ambient particulate matter (PM) has an adverse effect on respiratory morbidity. Desert dust outbreaks contribute to increased PM levels but the toxicity of desert dust mixed with anthropogenic pollutants needs clarification. METHODS: We identified 132 days with desert dust episodes and 177 matched days by day of the week, season, temperature and humidity between 2001 and 2006 in Athens, Greece. We collected data on regulated pollutants and daily emergency outpatient visits and admissions for respiratory causes. We applied Poisson regression models adjusting for confounding effects of seasonality, meteorology, holidays and influenza epidemics. We evaluated the sensitivity of our results to co-pollutant exposures and effect modification by age and sex. RESULTS: A 10 mug/m(3) increase in PM10 concentration was associated with 1.95% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.02%, 3.91%) increase in respiratory emergency room visits. No significant interaction with desert dust episodes was observed. Compared with non-dust days, there was a 47% (95% CI: 29%, 68%) increase in visits in dust days not adjusting for PM10. Desert dust days were associated with higher numbers of emergency room visits for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory infections with increases of 38%, 57% and 60%, respectively (p < 0.001 for all comparisons). Analyses of respiratory hospital admissions provided similar results. PM10 effects decreased when adjusting for desert dust days and were further confounded by co-pollutants. CONCLUSIONS: Desert dust episode days are associated with higher respiratory emergency room visits and hospital admissions. This effect is insufficiently explained by increased PM10 levels.

Short TitleEnviron. Health
Alternate JournalEnvironmental health : a global access science source