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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health

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Original Articles
Alleviation of PM2.5-associated Risk of Daily Influenza Hospitalization by COVID-19 Lockdown Measures: A Time-series Study in Northeastern Thailand
Benjawan Roudreo, Sitthichok Puangthongthub
J Prev Med Public Health. 2024;57(2):108-119.   Published online January 19, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.23.349
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Objectives
Abrupt changes in air pollution levels associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak present a unique opportunity to evaluate the effects of air pollution on influenza risk, at a time when emission sources were less active and personal hygiene practices were more rigorous.
Methods
This time-series study examined the relationship between influenza cases (n=22 874) and air pollutant concentrations from 2018 to 2021, comparing the timeframes before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in and around Thailand’s Khon Kaen province. Poisson generalized additive modeling was employed to estimate the relative risk of hospitalization for influenza associated with air pollutant levels.
Results
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, both the average daily number of influenza hospitalizations and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm or less (PM2.5) concentration exceeded those later observed during the pandemic (p<0.001). In single-pollutant models, a 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 before COVID-19 was significantly associated with increased influenza risk upon exposure to cumulative-day lags, specifically lags 0-5 and 0-6 (p<0.01). After adjustment for co-pollutants, PM2.5 demonstrated the strongest effects at lags 0 and 4, with elevated risk found across all cumulative-day lags (0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 0-4, 0-5, and 0-6) and significantly greater risk in the winter and summer at lag 0-5 (p<0.01). However, the PM2.5 level was not significantly associated with influenza risk during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Conclusions
Lockdown measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic could mitigate the risk of PM2.5-induced influenza. Effective regulatory actions in the context of COVID-19 may decrease PM2.5 emissions and improve hygiene practices, thereby reducing influenza hospitalizations.
Summary
Key Message
In the present research, both single- and multi-pollutant models indicated that the level of PM2.5 was significantly related to the daily number of influenza cases in Khon Kaen, Thailand, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, a significant risk difference was observed between the pre-outbreak and the pandemic periods due to the reduction in air pollutant concentrations because of lockdown measures to control the spread of COVID-19. These findings could be useful for developing environmental policies and strategies accordingly to mitigate respiratory health issues.
Respiratory Health of the Children Living near the Petrochemical Estate in Ulsan.
Choong Ryeol Lee, Cheol In Yoo, Ji Ho Lee, Yangho Kim
Korean J Prev Med. 2000;33(2):174-183.
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AbstractAbstract PDF
OBJECTIVES
To evaluate the effect of low-level exposure of air pollutants on the respiratory tract of the children living near the petrochemical estate in Ulsan. METHODS: The study design was cross-sectional, and the study subjects consisted of 150 children(76 boys, 74 girls) living near the petrochemical estate and 100 children(53 boys, 47 girls) living in a suburban area. We investigated respiratory health using self-administered questionnaires(ATS-DLD-78), radiological examination, and pulmonary function test such as FVC and FEV1. RESULTS: There were higher prevalence rates of respiratory symptoms in the children living near the petrochemical estate than the children living in a suburban area. And the results of FVC and FEV1 of 11-years old children living near the petrochemical estate were lower than those of the children living in a suburban area. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic exposure of low-level air pollutants would affect respiratory health of the children. Therefore, further a longitudinal study of respiratory health will be needed for children living near the petrochemical estate in Ulsan.
Summary
English Abstract
Public Perceptions of the Risk of Asian Dust Storms in Seoul and its Metropolitan Area.
Hyoung June Im, Ho Jang Kwon, Mina Ha, Sang Gyu Lee, Seung Sik Hwang, Eun Hee Ha, Soo Hun Cho
J Prev Med Public Health. 2006;39(3):205-212.
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AbstractAbstract PDF
OBJECTIVES
In spite of the recent increased concern for Asian dust storms, there are few studies concerning how dangerous the general public recognizes these dust storms to be. This study examined the public's perceptions of the risk of the Asian dust storms and also the source of the information concerning the risk. METHODS: A telephone interview survey using a standardized questionnaire was done for the adults living in Seoul and its metropolitan area from May 15th, 2003 to May 16th, 2003. The contents of the questionnaire were the sociodemographic characteristics, the perceptions of risk to the Asian dust storms, and the coping strategy of the study participants. RESULTS: The study participants get their information on Asian dust storms mainly from TV newscasts and they have a good knowledge of them. They regard it as one of the most dangerous health risks, along with dioxin. They think that it is associated with allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma, etc. Of the 500 study participants, 201(40.2%) persons suffered bodily discomforts during the Asian dust storm period. CONCLUSIONS: Although there are uncertainties about the health risks of Asian dust storms, the public thinks these dust storms are very dangerous to health in many ways. This negative perception will not disappear easily. To fill the gap of the public's perceptions of the risk and the objective evidence of its health effects, more studies about its health effects and the methods to reduce exposure are required.
Summary

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health