Health effects of the 2012 Valencia (Spain) wildfires on children in a cohort study
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In July 2012, two simultaneous wildfires burnt a big area in Valencia (Spain), where a birth cohort study (INMA) is being developed. The heavy smoke covered the whole INMA study area for several days. We aimed at evaluating the 2012 Valencia wildfire effects on the health of children enrolled in the INMA-Valencia cohort. Two weeks after the extinction of the wildfires, a phone survey was conducted and finally 460 individuals were enrolled. We considered a wildfire period (12-day interval when they were active) and a control period (12-day interval just before wildfires). Parents were asked about respiratory symptoms experienced during both periods, and during wildfires only about the preventive measures adopted and the perception of exposure, along with individual data collected through the different follow-up surveys of the cohort. Conditional logistic regression models were applied, and we included interaction terms for asthma/rhinitis and level of perception of exposure; 82.4 % perceived smoke smell outdoors, 40 % indoors and more than 90 % of the families observed the presence of ash. An adjusted odds ratio of 3.11 [95 % confidence interval 1.62–5.97] for itchy/watery eyes and 3.02 [1.41–6.44] for sore throat was obtained. Significant interaction terms for rhinitis and asthma in itchy/watery eyes and sneezing, and only asthma for sore throat were obtained. Exposure to wildfire smoke was associated with increased respiratory symptoms in this child population, particularly affecting susceptible individuals with asthma or rhinitis.
KeywordsWildfire Children Allergy Air pollution Cohort Asthma Rhinitis
Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria (FIS)-FEDER (Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional) 06/1213, 07/0314, PS09/02647 FIS PI11/02591, FIS PI11/02038, and FIS PI13/02032.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no actual or potential competing financial interests.
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