Short-Term Effect of Pollen and Spore Exposure on Allergy Morbidity in the Brussels-Capital Region
AuthorGuilbert, A; Simons, K; Hoebeke, L; Packeu, A; Hendrickx, M; De Cremer, K; Buyl, R; Coomans, D; Van Nieuwenhuyse, A
University of Melbourne Author/sSimons, Koen
AffiliationMelbourne School of Population and Global Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsGuilbert, A., Simons, K., Hoebeke, L., Packeu, A., Hendrickx, M., De Cremer, K., Buyl, R., Coomans, D. & Van Nieuwenhuyse, A. (2016). Short-Term Effect of Pollen and Spore Exposure on Allergy Morbidity in the Brussels-Capital Region. ECOHEALTH, 13 (2), pp.303-315. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-016-1124-x.
Access StatusOpen Access
Belgium is among the European countries that are the most affected by allergic rhinitis. Pollen grains and fungal spores represent important triggers of symptoms. However, few studies have investigated their real link with disease morbidity over several years. Based on aeroallergen counts and health insurance datasets, the relationship between daily changes in pollen, fungal spore concentrations and daily changes in reimbursable systemic antihistamine sales has been investigated between 2005 and 2011 in the Brussels-Capital Region. A Generalized Linear Model was used and adjusted for air pollution, meteorological conditions, flu, seasonal component and day of the week. We observed an augmentation in drug sales despite no significant increase in allergen levels in the long term. The relative risk of buying allergy medications associated with an interquartile augmentation in pollen distributions increased significantly for Poaceae, Betula, Carpinus, Fraxinus and Quercus. Poaceae affected the widest age group and led to the highest increase of risk which reached 1.13 (95% CI [1.11-1.14]) among the 19- to 39-year-old men. Betula showed the second most consistent relationship across age groups. Clear identification of the provoking agents may improve disease management by customizing prevention programmes. This work also opens several research perspectives related to impact of climate modification or subpopulation sensitivity.
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