Air pollution from small particles from forest fires is contributing to an increase in the number of people infected with coronavirus in nearby cities. This is reported in a study published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
Forest fires are a source of air pollution in nearby cities with particles with a diameter of up to 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5). Particles PM2.5 and PM10 are among the most important causes of the harmful effects of dirty air on health. Their high concentration in the air can increase the susceptibility of people to viruses: for example, due to increased inflammation in the airways. Also, these particles can facilitate the spread of bacteria and viruses in the aerosol, including the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, Medportal.ru reported.
To find out how wildfires affect the risk of contracting coronavirus, US scientists estimated the frequency of positive PCR tests for the pathogen in a large medical network serving the city of Reno, Nevada. The study covered the period from August to October 2020, when the city suffered from forest fire smoke for 43 days, its residents were exposed to smoke more than residents of neighboring settlements (this is due to its location in a valley where smoke is trapped by natural barriers ).
The study found that exposure to PM 2.5 particles was associated with a 17.7% increase in coronavirus cases, compared to what scientists predicted in the absence of fires.