International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 358–369 | Cite as

Weather impacts on respiratory infections in Athens, Greece

Original Article

Abstract

In this study the contribution of meteorological parameters to the total variability of respiratory infections (RI) is analysed. For this purpose, data on the daily numbers of general practitioner (GP) consultations for RI during the year 2002 were used. This dataset has been compiled by the Local Health Service in the surroundings of Athens, Greece (Acharnes city). The meteorological data obtained by the Meteorological Station of the National Observatory of Athens comprise daily values of mean, maximum, and minimum air temperature, air temperature range, relative humidity, absolute humidity, sunshine, surface atmospheric pressure, wind speed, as well as day-to-day changes of these parameters. Furthermore, the following biometeorological parameters and thermal indices were also evaluated: mean radiant temperature (Tmrt), predicted mean vote (PMV), physiologically equivalent temperature (PET) and standard effective temperature (SET*) as well as their day-to-day changes. First, the relationship between every meteorological-biometeorological parameter and consultations for RI was examined by applying the Pearson Chi-Square Test (χ2) to the data of the 25 compiled contingency tables. In the second stage, the application of generalised linear models (GLM) with Poisson distribution to the data revealed how much the weather variability leads to statistically important changes in consultations for RI. The results of this study contribute to the evidence that there is an association between weather conditions and the number of GP consultations for RI. More specifically, the influence of air temperature and absolute humidity on consultations on the same day is weaker than the lag effect (∼2 weeks) related to cold existence and absolute humidity, while a strong wind during the preceding 3 days drives a peak in GP consultations.

Keywords

Respiratory infections Weather Biometeorology Thermal indices Athens/Greece 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Nikola Sander for proofreading and editing the manuscript and to the two unknown reviewers for their fruitful comments.

References

  1. Avendano LF, Cespedes A, Stecher X, Palomino MA (1999) Influence of respiratory viruses, cold weather and air pollution in the lower respiratory tract infections in infants children (in Spanish). Rev Med Chil 127:1073–1078PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartzokas A, Kassomenos P, Petrakis M, Celessides C (2003) The effect of meteorological and pollution parameters on the frequency of hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory problems in Athens. Indoor Built Environ 13:271–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berktas BM, Bircan A (2003) Effects of atmospheric sulphur dioxide and particulate matter concentrations on emergency room admissions due to asthma in Ankara. Tuberk Toraks 51:231–238PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Colwell RR, Epstein PR, Gubler D, Maynard N, McMichael AJ, Patz JA, Sack RB, Shope R (1998) Climate change and human health. Science 279:968–969CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Danielides V, Nousia CS, Patrikakos G, Bartzokas A, Lolis C, Milionis HJ, Skevas A (2002) Effect of meteorological parameters on acute laryngitis on adults. Acta Otolaryngol 122:655–660CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Donaldson GC, Keatinge WR (1997) Early increases in ischaemic heart disease mortality dissociated from and later changes associated with respiratory mortality after cold weather in south east England. J Epidemiol Commun Health 51:643–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fiedler CP (1989) Effect of weather conditions on acute laryngotraxheitis. J Laryngol Otol 103:187–190PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Gagge AP, Fobelets AP, Berglund LG (1986) A standard predictive index of human response to the thermal environment. ASHRAE Trans 92:709–731Google Scholar
  9. Gioulekas D, Papakosta D, Damialis A, Spieksma F, Giouleka P, Patakas D (2004) Allergenic pollen records (15 years) and sensitization in patients with respiratory allergy in Thessaloniki, Greece. Allergy 59:174–184CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Goncalves FLT, Carvalho LMV, Conde FC, Latorre MRDO, Saldiva PHN, Braga ALF (2005) The effects of air pollution and meteorological parameters on respiratory morbidity during the summer in Sao Paulo City. Environ Int 31:343–349CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Grech V, Balzan M, Asciak RP, Buhagiar A (2002) Seasonal variations in hospital admissions for asthma in Malta. J Asthma 39:263–268CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Hajat S, Bird W, Haines A (2004) Cold weather and GP consultations for respiratory conditions by elderly people in 16 locations in the UK. Eur J Epidemiol 19:959–968CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hashimoto M, Fukuda T, Shimizu T, Watanabe S, Watanuki S, Eto Y, Urashima M (2004) Influence of climate factors on emergency visits for childhood asthma attack. Pediatr Int 46:48–52CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Höppe P (1999) The physiological equivalent temperature - a universal index for the biometeorological assessment of the thermal environment. Int J Biometeorol 43:71–75CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. IPCC (2001) Climate change 2001: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Technical SummaryGoogle Scholar
  16. Kalkstein LS (1993) Health and climate change. Direct impacts in cities. Lancet 342:1397–1399CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Kalkstein L, Smoyer K (1993) The impact of climate change on health: some international implications. Experientia 49:969–979CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kashiwabara K, Kohrogi H, Ota K, Moroi T (2002) High frequency of emergency room visits of asthmatic children on misty or foggy nights. J Asthma 39:711–717CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Katsouyanni K, Trichopoulos D, Zavitsanos X, Touloumi G (1988) The Athens heat wave. Lancet 3:573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kofteridis DP, Papadakis JA, Bouros D, Nikolaides P, Kioumis G, Levidiotou S, Maltezos E, Kastanakis S, Kartali S, Gikas A (2004) Nosocomial lower respiratory tract infections: prevalence and risk factors in 14 Greek hospitals. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 23:888–891PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Lecha LB (1998) Biometeorological classification of daily weather types for the humid tropics. Int J Biometeorol 42:77–83CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Matzarakis A, Mayer H (1996) Another kind of environmental stress: thermal stress. WHO Newslett 18:7–10Google Scholar
  23. Matzarakis A, Mayer H, Iziomon M (1999) Applications of a universal thermal index: physiological equivalent temperature. Int J Biometeorol 43:76–84CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Matzarakis A, Rutz F, Mayer H (2000) Estimation and calculation of the mean radiant temperature within urban structures. WCASP-50, WMO/TD, No. 1026:273–278Google Scholar
  25. McGregor GR (2005) Winter North Atlantic Oscillation, temperature and ischaemic heart disease mortality in three English counties. Int J Biometeorol 49:197–204CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. McGullagh P, Nelder JA (1997) Generalised linear models, 2nd edn. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. McMichaels AJ, Haines A, Sloof R, Kovats S (1996) Climate change and human health. World Health Organisation, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  28. Nastos PT, Paliatsos AG, Priftis KN, Panagiotopoulou-Gartagani P, Tapratzi-Potamianou P, Zachariadi-Xylopita A, Saxoni-Papageorgiou P (2005) The influence of bioclimatic factors to the hospitalisations for childhood asthma in Athens (1978–2000). Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology, Rhodes island, Greece, 1–3 September 2005, pp 1077–1083Google Scholar
  29. Nedler JA, Wedderburn RWM (1972) Generalised linear models. J R Stat Soc Ser A 135:370–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Panagiotakos DB, Chrysohoou C, Pitsavos C, Nastos PT, Anadiotis A, Tendolouris C, Stefanadis C, Toutouzas P, Paliatsos A (2004) Climatological variations in daily hospital admissions for acute coronary syndromes. Int J Cardiol 94:229–233CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Shek LP-C, Lee B-W (2003) Epidemiology and seasonality of respiratory tract virus infections in the tropics. Paediatr Respir Rev 4:105–111CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Sichletidis L, Tsiotsios I, Gavriilidis A, Chloros D, Gioulekas D, Kottakis I, Pataka A (2005) The effects of environmental pollution on the respiratory system of children in western Macedonia, Greece. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 15:117–123PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. VDI (1998) VDI 3787, part I: environmental meteorology, methods for the human biometeorological evaluation of climate and air quality for the urban and regional planning at regional level. Part I: climate. Beuth, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  34. Viegas M, Barrero PR, Maffey AF, Mistchenko AS (2004) Respiratory viruses seasonality in children under five years of age in Buenos Aires, Argentina: a five-year analysis. J Infect 49:222–228CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Weiland SK, Husing A, Strachan DP, Rzehak P, Pearce N (2004) Climate and the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic eczema in children. Occup Environ Med 61:609–615CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ISB 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Climatology and Atmospheric EnvironmentUniversity of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Meteorological InstituteUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

Personalised recommendations