Outpatient visits for allergic diseases are associated with exposure to ambient fungal spores in the greater Taipei area

Kraiwuth Kallawicha, Ying Chih Chuang, Shih Chun Candice Lung, Chang Fu Wu, Bor Cheng Han, Yi Fang Ting, Hsing Jasmine Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Allergic diseases are prevalent worldwide and may result from exposure to various substances. Exposure to ambient bioaerosols is a potential risk factor for allergic diseases; however, accurate exposure assessment is challenging due to the limited number of outdoor monitoring stations. In this study, the relationships between ambient bioaerosol exposure and allergic diseases (viz., acute conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma) were evaluated using validated land-use regression (LUR) models to estimate the exposure levels. Data on the daily outpatient visits were retrieved from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The total fungal spore count was associated with acute conjunctivitis in males at the second and third quartiles with relative risks (RRs) of 1.75 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.24, 2.48) and 1.32 (95% CI = 1.03, 1.70), respectively. It was also associated with asthma in both sexes when the concentration ≥ 95th percentile with RRs = 3.06 (95% CI = 1.89, 4.95) in males and 1.73 (95% CI = 1.08, 2.76) in females. Cladosporium was correlated with acute conjunctivitis in females at a concentration ≥ 95th percentile with RR = 2.90 (95% CI = 1.40, 6.04). Basidiospores were associated with allergic rhinitis in males at the third and fourth quartiles with RRs = 1.88 (95% CI = 1.44, 2.45) and 1.49 (95% CI = 1.20, 1.84), respectively. Meteorological parameters, including relative humidity and rainfall, were also crucial factors associated with the number of outpatient visits. Our results revealed that ambient fungal spores are critical determinants of allergic diseases. In addition, using LUR models to assess exposure to ambient bioaerosols is feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2077-2085
Number of pages9
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Volume18
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018

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confidence interval
spore
Land use
asthma
Health insurance
land use
health insurance
Rain
Atmospheric humidity
exposure
risk factor
relative humidity
Monitoring
rainfall

Keywords

  • Acute conjunctivitis
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Bioaerosols
  • Land use regression (LUR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution

Cite this

Outpatient visits for allergic diseases are associated with exposure to ambient fungal spores in the greater Taipei area. / Kallawicha, Kraiwuth; Chuang, Ying Chih; Lung, Shih Chun Candice; Wu, Chang Fu; Han, Bor Cheng; Ting, Yi Fang; Chao, Hsing Jasmine.

In: Aerosol and Air Quality Research, Vol. 18, No. 8, 01.08.2018, p. 2077-2085.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Allergic diseases are prevalent worldwide and may result from exposure to various substances. Exposure to ambient bioaerosols is a potential risk factor for allergic diseases; however, accurate exposure assessment is challenging due to the limited number of outdoor monitoring stations. In this study, the relationships between ambient bioaerosol exposure and allergic diseases (viz., acute conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma) were evaluated using validated land-use regression (LUR) models to estimate the exposure levels. Data on the daily outpatient visits were retrieved from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The total fungal spore count was associated with acute conjunctivitis in males at the second and third quartiles with relative risks (RRs) of 1.75 (95{\%} confidence interval [CI] = 1.24, 2.48) and 1.32 (95{\%} CI = 1.03, 1.70), respectively. It was also associated with asthma in both sexes when the concentration ≥ 95th percentile with RRs = 3.06 (95{\%} CI = 1.89, 4.95) in males and 1.73 (95{\%} CI = 1.08, 2.76) in females. Cladosporium was correlated with acute conjunctivitis in females at a concentration ≥ 95th percentile with RR = 2.90 (95{\%} CI = 1.40, 6.04). Basidiospores were associated with allergic rhinitis in males at the third and fourth quartiles with RRs = 1.88 (95{\%} CI = 1.44, 2.45) and 1.49 (95{\%} CI = 1.20, 1.84), respectively. Meteorological parameters, including relative humidity and rainfall, were also crucial factors associated with the number of outpatient visits. Our results revealed that ambient fungal spores are critical determinants of allergic diseases. In addition, using LUR models to assess exposure to ambient bioaerosols is feasible.",
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