Air pollution and bronchiolitis : a case-control study in Antwerp, Belgium
This case-control study aimed to investigate the association between short-term (1 to 5 days) and medium-term (31 days) exposure to air pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, BC, NO2) at home/daycare and the risk of 'severe bronchiolitis' (defined as 'requiring hospitalization for bronchiolitis') in children under 2 years in Antwerp, Belgium. We included 118 cases and 79 controls admitted to three general hospitals from October 2020 to June 2021. Exposure levels were predicted using an interpolation model based on fixed measuring stations. We used unconditional logistic regression analysis to assess associations, with adjustment for potential confounders. There were hardly any significant differences in the day-to-day air pollution values between cases and controls. Medium-term (31 days) exposure to PM2.5, PM10, and NO2 was however significantly higher in cases than controls in univariate analysis. Logistic regression revealed an association between severe bronchiolitis and interquartile range (IQR) increases of PM2.5 and PM10 at home and in daycare, as well as IQR increases of NO2 in daycare. Controls were however overrepresented in low pollution periods. Time-adjustment reduced the odds ratios significantly at home for PM2.5 and PM10 (aOR 1.54, 95%CI 0.51-4.65; and 2.69, 95%CI 0.94-7.69 respectively), and in daycare for. PM2.5 (aOR 2.43, 95%CI 0.58-10.1). However, the association between severe bronchiolitis and medium-term air pollution was retained in daycare for IQR increases of PM10 (aOR 5.13, 95%CI 1.24-21.28) and NO2 (aOR 3.88, 95%CI 1.56-9.61) in the time-adjusted model. Conclusion: This study suggests a possible link between severe bronchiolitis and medium-term (31 days) air pollution exposure (PM10 and NO2), particularly in daycare. Larger studies are warranted to confirm these findings. What is Known: • Bronchiolitis is a leading cause of hospitalization in infants globally and causes a yearly seasonal wave of admissions in paediatric departments worldwide. • Existing studies, mainly from the USA, show heterogeneous outcomes regarding the association between air pollution and bronchiolitis. What is New: • There is a possible link between severe bronchiolitis and medium-term (31 days) air pollution exposure (PM10 and NO2), particularly in daycare. • Larger studies are needed to validate these trends.
Source (journal)
European journal of pediatrics. - Berlin, 1975, currens
Berlin : 2024
0340-6199 [print]
1432-1076 [online]
183 (2024) , p. 2431-2442
Pubmed ID
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
The author-created version that incorporates referee comments and is the accepted for publication version Available from 12.09.2024
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
Research group
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Creation 17.03.2024
Last edited 24.04.2024
To cite this reference