Air Pollutants’ Concentrations Are Associated with Increased Number of RSV Hospitalizations in Polish Children

August Wrotek, Artur Jerzy Badyda, Piotr O. Czechowski, Tomasz Owczarek, Piotr Dąbrowiecki, Teresa Jackowska

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) contributes significantly to pediatric hospitalizations. An association between air pollution and an increased number of RSV cases has been suggested. We sought to evaluate the short-term impact of air pollutants on RSV hospitalizations in Polish children in the period 2010–2019. Daily concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 10 μm and 2.5 μm, respectively) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were analyzed in general regression models (GRM) to establish their influence and full interaction scheme. Significant seasonal and annual periodicity among 53,221 hospitalizations was observed; finally, data from the 2012–2019 RSV high-risk seasons created models for seven agglomerations. The addition of PM2.5, PM10, and NO2 to the basic model for RSV seasonality explained 23% (4.9–31%, univariate model) to 31.4% (8.4–31%, multivariate model) of the variance in RSV hospitalizations. A 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5, PM10, and NO2 concentrations was associated with 0.134 (0.087–0.16), 0.097 (0.031–0.087), and 0.212 (0.04–0.29) average increases in hospitalizations, respectively. In the multivariate models, PM2.5, PM10, and NO2 alone, as well as PM2.5–NO2, PM2.5–PM10, and PM10–NO2 interactions, were associated with hospitalizations in some of the locations, while the metaregression showed statistically significant interactions between each of the pollutants, and between the pollutants and the year of the study. The inclusion of PM2.5, PM10, and NO2 in GRM explains a significant number of RSV hospitalizations. The pollutants act alone and interact together in a varied manner. Reducing air contamination might decrease the costs of hospital healthcare.

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