Volume 26 (2016) Issue 11 Pages 593-601
Background: The adverse health effects of Asian dust (AD) on the respiratory system of children are unclear. We hypothesized that AD events may lead to increased visits by children to emergency medical centers due to bronchial asthma and respiratory diseases, including bronchial asthma.
Methods: We used anonymized data on children receiving primary emergency treatment at Nagasaki Municipal Primary Emergency Medical Center, Japan between March 2010 and September 2013. We used Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data to assess AD exposure and performed time-stratified case-crossover analyses to examine the association between AD exposure and emergency department visits. The main analysis was done with data collected from March through May each year.
Results: The total number of emergency department visits during the study period was 756 for bronchial asthma and 5421 for respiratory diseases, and the number of “AD days” was 47. In school children, AD events at lag day 3 and lag day 4 were associated with increased emergency department visits due to bronchial asthma, with odds ratios of 1.837 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.212–2.786) and 1.829 (95% CI, 1.179–2.806), respectively. AD events were significantly associated with respiratory diseases among preschool children at lag day 0, lag day 1, and lag day 2, with odds ratios of 1.244 (95% CI, 1.128–1.373), 1.314 (95% CI, 1.189–1.452), and 1.273 (95% CI, 1.152–1.408), respectively. These associations were also significant when the results were adjusted for meteorological variables and other air pollutants.
Conclusions: The study findings suggested that AD exposure increases emergency department visits by children.