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World Allergy Organ J. 2015 Jul 14;8(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s40413-015-0073-0. eCollection 2015.

Meteorological conditions, climate change, new emerging factors, and asthma and related allergic disorders. A statement of the World Allergy Organization.

Author information

1
Department of Respiratory Diseases, Division of Pneumology and Allergology, High Specialty Hospital "A. Cardarelli" Napoli, Italy, University of Naples Medical School, Via Rione Sirignano, 10, 80121 Napoli, Italy.
2
Southampton General Hospital, Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Southampton, Hampshire, UK.
3
Department of Pediatrics, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.
4
Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
5
Interdepartmental Centre of Bioclimatology, University of Florence Allergy and Clinical Immunology Section, Azienda Sanitaria di Prato, Italy.
6
Department of Allergy, Al-Rashid Center, Ministry of Health, Khobar, Kuwait.
7
Al-Rashid Allergy and Respiratory Center, Khobar, Kuwait.
8
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
9
Department of Allergy and Immunology, Hospital Quirón Bizkaia, Erandio, Spain.
10
Centre for Research in Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina.
11
Emeritus Consultant Anaesthesiologist, SAMU de Paris, Hôpital Necker - Enfants Malades, Paris, France.
12
Department of Chest Diseases, Respiratory Research Laboratory, Allergy Division, School of Medicine, University of Gaziantep, Şehitkamil/Gaziantep, 27310 Turkey.
13
Allergy-Centrum-Charité, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
14
Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Laval University, 2725 chemin Sainte-Foy, Quebec City, G1V 4G5 Canada.
15
ZAUM - Center of Allergy and Environment, Helmholtz Zentrum München/Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany.
16
University of Naples, Institute of Respiratory Diseases, Naples, Italy.
17
World Allergy Organization, Milwaukee, Wisconsin United States.
18
Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.
19
Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK.
20
Development Assistance Committee, Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France.
21
Asthma & Allergy Unit, Hospital San Bernardo, Salta, Argentina.
22
Skin and Allergy Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
23
Prince Naif Center for Immunology Research, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O.Box 2925, Postal Code 11461 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
24
Epidemiology of Respiratory and Allergic Disease Department, UMR-S, Institute Pierre Louis of Epidemiology and Public Health, INSERM Medical School Saint-Antoine, UPMC Sorbonne Universités, Paris, France.
25
University of Sharjah, and, Rashid Hospital DHA, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
26
South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW, Australia and Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
27
Dipartimento Epidemiologia Regione Lazio, UOC Epidemiologia Ambientale, Roma, Italy.
28
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43100 Parma, Italy.
29
Center of Allergy of Algarve, Hospital Particular do Algarve, Particular do Algarve, Brasil.
30
Department of Pediatrics, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
31
Clinic of Allergy and Asthma, Medical University in Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria.
32
Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics, Kansas City, Missouri USA.
33
Division of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine, Hospital de Clínicas, Federal University of Parana, Rua Tte. João Gomes da Silva 226, 80810-100 Curitiba, PR Brazil.
34
Allergy Asthma and Immunology, Emek Medical Center, Afula, and the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
35
Clinica El Avila, Caracas, Venezuela.
36
Asthma, Allergy and Immune Dysfunction Clinic, Harare, Zimbabwe.
37
Allergy and Immunology Department, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez, SSA, México City, Mexico.
38
Epidemiology of Respiratory and Allergic Disease Department (EPAR), Institute Pierre Louis of Epidemiology and Public Health, UMR-S 1136, INSERM, Paris, France ; UPMC, Sorbonne Universités, Medical School Saint-Antoine, 803-804-806, 8 etage/Floor 27, Rue Chaligny, CEDEX 12, 75571 Paris, France.

Abstract

The prevalence of allergic airway diseases such as asthma and rhinitis has increased dramatically to epidemic proportions worldwide. Besides air pollution from industry derived emissions and motor vehicles, the rising trend can only be explained by gross changes in the environments where we live. The world economy has been transformed over the last 25 years with developing countries being at the core of these changes. Around the planet, in both developed and developing countries, environments are undergoing profound changes. Many of these changes are considered to have negative effects on respiratory health and to enhance the frequency and severity of respiratory diseases such as asthma in the general population. Increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, and especially carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere have already warmed the planet substantially, causing more severe and prolonged heat waves, variability in temperature, increased air pollution, forest fires, droughts, and floods - all of which can put the respiratory health of the public at risk. These changes in climate and air quality have a measurable impact not only on the morbidity but also the mortality of patients with asthma and other respiratory diseases. The massive increase in emissions of air pollutants due to economic and industrial growth in the last century has made air quality an environmental problem of the first order in a large number of regions of the world. A body of evidence suggests that major changes to our world are occurring and involve the atmosphere and its associated climate. These changes, including global warming induced by human activity, have an impact on the biosphere, biodiversity, and the human environment. Mitigating this huge health impact and reversing the effects of these changes are major challenges. This statement of the World Allergy Organization (WAO) raises the importance of this health hazard and highlights the facts on climate-related health impacts, including: deaths and acute morbidity due to heat waves and extreme meteorological events; increased frequency of acute cardio-respiratory events due to higher concentrations of ground level ozone; changes in the frequency of respiratory diseases due to trans-boundary particle pollution; altered spatial and temporal distribution of allergens (pollens, molds, and mites); and some infectious disease vectors. According to this report, these impacts will not only affect those with current asthma but also increase the incidence and prevalence of allergic respiratory conditions and of asthma. The effects of climate change on respiratory allergy are still not well defined, and more studies addressing this topic are needed. Global warming is expected to affect the start, duration, and intensity of the pollen season on the one hand, and the rate of asthma exacerbations due to air pollution, respiratory infections, and/or cold air inhalation, and other conditions on the other hand.

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