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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Mar 2;61(8):139-42.

Exposure to nitrogen dioxide in an indoor ice arena - New Hampshire, 2011.


In January 2011, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS) investigated acute respiratory symptoms in a group of ice hockey players. The symptoms, which included cough, shortness of breath, hemoptysis, and chest pain or tightness, were consistent with exposure to nitrogen dioxide gas (NO), a byproduct of combustion. Environmental and epidemiologic investigations were begun to determine the source of the exposure and identify potentially exposed persons. This report summarizes the results of those investigations, which implicated a local indoor ice arena that had hosted two hockey practice sessions during a 24-hour period when the arena ventilation system was not functioning. A total of 43 exposed persons were interviewed, of whom 31 (72.1%) reported symptoms consistent with NO exposure. The highest attack rate was among the hockey players (87.9%). After repair of the ventilation system, no additional cases were identified. To prevent similar episodes, ice arena operators should ensure ventilation systems and alarms are operating properly and that levels of NO and carbon monoxide (CO) are monitored continuously for early detection of increased gas levels.

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