African dust clouds are associated with increased paediatric asthma accident and emergency admissions on the Caribbean island of Trinidad

Int J Biometeorol. 2005 Jul;49(6):371-6. doi: 10.1007/s00484-005-0257-3. Epub 2005 Feb 4.


A retrospective ecological study of paediatric asthma patients who attended the Accident and Emergency (A and E) department of the Paediatric Priority Care Facility at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in relation to Saharan dust visibility and other climatic variables for the period 23 May 2001 to 13 May 2002 was undertaken to determine if there is an association between paediatric A and E asthma visits and Saharan dust cloud cover. A Poisson regression model was used to determine the statistical relationship between acute paediatric asthma A and E visits and Saharan dust cover with and without other variables such as climatic parameters and month. During the study period, there were 2,655 A and E visits for acute asthma. There was an association between increased paediatric asthma admissions and increased Saharan dust cover. The best fitting model estimated that in one month, such as June, a deterioration of visibility due to increased Saharan dust cover from no dust (visibility =16 km) to very dusty (visibility =7 km) would increase a daily admission rate of 7.8 patients to 9.25 when climate variables such as barometric pressure and humidity were kept constant.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Africa
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dust*
  • Emergencies / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Temperature
  • Trinidad and Tobago / epidemiology


  • Dust