An increase in fungal spores in ambient air is reported during a spike in particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) aerosols generated during dust or smog events. However, little is known about the impact of ambient bioaerosols on fungal infections in humans. To identify the correlation between the incidence of pulmonary aspergillosis and PM-associated bioaerosols (PM2.5 and PM10), we retrospectively analyzed data between 2015 and 2018 (first stage) and prospectively analyzed data in 2019 (second stage). Patient data were collected from patients in three medical institutions in Tainan, a city with a population of 1.88 million, located in southern Taiwan. PM data were obtained from the Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network. Overall, 544 non-repeated aspergillosis patients (first stage, n = 340; second stage, n = 204) were identified and enrolled for analysis. The trend of aspergillosis significantly increased from 2015 to 2019. Influenza A (H1N1) and ambient PMs (PM2.5 and PM10) levels had significant effects on aspergillosis from 2015 to 2018. However, ambient PMs and influenza A (H1N1) in Tainan were correlated with the occurrence of aspergillosis in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Overall (2015–2019), aspergillosis was significantly correlated with influenza (p = 0.002), influenza A (H1N1) (p < 0.001), and PM2.5 (p = 0.040) in Tainan City. Using a stepwise regression model, influenza A (H1N1) (p < 0.0001) and Tainan PM10 (p = 0.016) could significantly predict the occurrence of aspergillosis in Tainan. PM-related bioaerosols and influenza A (H1N1) contribute to the incidence of pulmonary aspergillosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas