HealthDay News — Environmental exposures such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are associated with residence in high-risk areas for community-acquired pneumonia in children, according to a study published in Experimental Biology & Medicine.

Tonny J Oyana, PhD, from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, and colleagues examined the geospatial patterns of community-acquired pneumonia and the impact of PM2.5 on geospatial variability of pneumonia in children in a retrospective cohort study. The mean PM2.5 during the study period was 10.75 µg/m3; high PM2.5 was defined as exposure to PM2.5 concentrations >10.75 µg/m3.

A total of 220 of the 810 patients with radiographic community-acquired pneumonia were identified as being from high- or low-risk areas for community-acquired pneumonia (126 and 94, respectively). In the Memphis metropolitan area, community-acquired pneumonia had a nonhomogenous geospatial pattern. There was an association observed for PM2.5 with residence in high-risk areas for community-acquired pneumonia. The risk for residence in a high-risk area for community-acquired pneumonia was decreased for children with private insurance and bacterial (as opposed to viral) etiology of infection.

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“The fact that we saw increased risk for pediatric pneumonia at PM2.5 levels lower than what is currently allowed by the US Environmental Protection Agency is a concern and signals the need for continuous review and policy adjustment based on health effects evidence and exposure or risk information such as this,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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