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Revista americana de medicina respiratoria

On-line version ISSN 1852-236X


ZABERT, Ignacio; BENITEZ, Sergio  and  ZABERT, Gustavo E. Impact on the Respiratory Airways of Acute Exposure to Volcanic Ash in the Patagonia: Cross-Sectional Study. Rev. am. med. respir. [online]. 2019, vol.19, n.2, pp.119-124. ISSN 1852-236X.

History: People exposed to volcanic ash show increased respiratory symptoms. The duration of exposure, the characteristics and ash concentration are determinants of the impact on respiratory health. Objectives: To describe the prevalence of wheezing over the past year within the adult population exposed to volcanic ash spilling in two cities with different levels of exposure. Secondarily, to describe the prevalence of ocular and respiratory symptoms in those populations. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted five days after the eruption of the Calbuco volcano in two Patagonian cities with different levels of exposure (high and low levels of exposure). The prevalence of wheezing and respiratory and ocular symptoms was evaluated by means of telephone surveys conducted through an interactive voice response system. Results: The prevalence of wheezing was similar both in cities with low and with high levels of exposure (30.2% vs. 31.0%; p: 0.82). The respiratory and ocular symptoms were 32% and 57%, respectively (p: NS). Conclusion: After the eruption of the Calbuco volcano, a high proportion of the exposed population showed wheezing and respiratory and ocular symptoms. No differences were shown between the analyzed cities. The prevalence of wheezing in these cities was higher than that reported on the national level. The respiratory symptoms and the prevalence of wheezing in adults were higher than those reported on the national level.

Keywords : Volcanic ash; Respiratory health; Symptoms; Asthma.

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