International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 753–768 | Cite as

Association of allergic rhinitis or asthma with pollen and chemical pollutants in Szeged, Hungary, 1999–2007

  • László MakraEmail author
  • István Matyasovszky
  • Beatrix Bálint
  • Zoltán Csépe
Original Paper


The effect of biological (pollen) and chemical air pollutants on respiratory hospital admissions for the Szeged region in Southern Hungary is analysed. A 9-year (1999–2007) database includes—besides daily number of respiratory hospital admissions—daily mean concentrations of CO, PM10, NO, NO2, O3 and SO2. Two pollen variables (Ambrosia and total pollen excluding Ambrosia) are also included. The analysis was performed for patients with chronic respiratory complaints (allergic rhinitis or asthma bronchiale) for two age categories (adults and the elderly) of males and females. Factor analysis was performed to clarify the relative importance of the pollutant variables affecting respiratory complaints. Using selected low and high quantiles corresponding to probability distributions of respiratory hospital admissions, averages of two data sets of each air pollutant variable were evaluated. Elements of these data sets were chosen according to whether actual daily patient numbers were below or above their quantile value. A nonparametric regression technique was applied to discriminate between extreme and non-extreme numbers of respiratory admissions using pollen and chemical pollutants as explanatory variables. The strongest correlations between extreme patient numbers and pollutants can be observed during the pollen season of Ambrosia, while the pollen-free period exhibits the weakest relationships. The elderly group with asthma bronchiale is characterised by lower correlations between extreme patient numbers and pollutants compared to adults and allergic rhinitis, respectively. The ratio of the number of correct decisions on the exceedance of a quantile resulted in similar conclusions as those obtained by using multiple correlations.


Air pollution Allergenic pollen Respiratory hospital admissions Patient number Allergic rhinitis Asthma bronchiale 



The authors would like to thank Gábor Motika (Environmental Conservancy Inspectorate, Szeged, Hungary) for providing chemical air pollutant data of Szeged, Miklós Juhász (University of Szeged) for providing pollen data of Szeged and Zoltán Sümeghy (University of Szeged) for the digital mapping in Fig. 1. The authors gratefully acknowledge the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, advice and suggestions. The European Union and the European Social Fund provided financial support for the project under the grant agreement no. TAMOP 4.2.1/B-09/1/KMR-2010-0003, TAMOP-4.2.1/B-09/1/KONV-2010-0005 and TAMOP-4.2.2/B-10/1-2010-0012.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • László Makra
    • 1
    Email author
  • István Matyasovszky
    • 2
  • Beatrix Bálint
    • 3
  • Zoltán Csépe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Climatology and Landscape EcologyUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary
  2. 2.Department of MeteorologyEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Hospital of Chest DiseasesCsongrád CountyHungary

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