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Relationship between air pollution, meteorological factors and grass pollen counts, with seasonal allergic rhinitis in Madrid (1996 and 2009)

Cabrera M1, Garzón García B2, Moreno Grau S3, Subiza J4

1Consulta de Alergia Hospital Los Madroños (Brunete), Madrid, Spain.
2Unidad de Estadística, Secretaría Adjunta de Informática, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.
3Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Ambiental, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Murcia, Spain.
4Clínica Subiza, Madrid, Spain.

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2019; Vol. 29(5)
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0368

Objective: The aim of this study is to assess the relationships of meteorological and pollutant variables on the symptoms of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis due to sensitization to grass pollen during two different time periods in Madrid.
Methods: During the period March 23 to December 31 in 1996 and 2009, were carried out a daily count of grass pollen grains (Burkard spore trap) and rhinitis symptoms score in two groups of patients (n = 25 in 1996 and n = 23 in 2009) with a history of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Descriptive statistics of the same variables in 1996 and 2009 study periods, non-parametric paired samples Wilcoxon test and categorical principal component analysis (CatPCA, SPSS24 package) model, were performed to describe how the variables are related.
Results: The symptom score mean value in 1996 is low and in 2009 moderate. The 1996 and 2009 CatPCA analysis explains around 66.4 % and 70.5 % of the variance, respectively. The strongest relationship in 1996 was between symptoms and grass pollen counts (R = 0.55), and temperature and O3 (R = 0.63). In 2009, the relationship between temperature and pollution variables is even higher than in the 1996 period: O3 (R = 0.53) and with PM10 (R = 0.34), in both cases with a positive sign.
Conclusions: The effect of the temperature and pollution (mainly O3, even at lower atmospheric concentrations than the established guidelines about its effects on health), could contributed to the observed higher seasonal allergic rhinitis symptom score in 2009.

Key words: Grass Pollen Grains, Pollution, Temperature, Ozone, Categorical Principal Component Analysis