The association between asthma-related emergency department visits and pollen and mold spore concentrations in the Bronx, 2001-2008

Sunit Jariwala, Jennifer Toh, Mili Shum, Gabriele De Vos, Kun Zou, Sayantani Sindher, Payal Patel, Alexi Geevarghese, Anna Tavdy, David Rosenstreich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: The incidence of asthma morbidity and mortality is highest among minority inner-city populations. Among New York City's five boroughs, the Bronx has the highest rate of asthma-related hospitalizations and mortality. Outdoor air pollutants have been associated with increased asthma-related ED visits (AREDV) in this borough. Objective: To better understand the contribution of pollen and mold to asthma severity in the Bronx. Methods: The numbers of daily adult and pediatric AREDV and asthma-related hospitalizations (ARH) from 2001 to 2008 were obtained from two Bronx hospitals. AREDV and ARH data were acquired retrospectively through the Clinical Looking Glass data analysis software. Daily counts for tree, grass and weed pollen and mold spore counts from March 2001 to October 2008 were obtained from the Armonk counting station. All data were statistically analyzed and graphed as daily values. Results: There were a total of 42 065 AREDV and 10 132 ARH at both Bronx hospitals. There were spring and winter peaks of increased AREDV. Tree pollen counts significantly correlated with total AREDV (rho = 0.3639, p < 0.001), and pediatric (rho = 0.33, p < 0.001) and adult AREDV (rho = 0.28, p < 0.001). ARH positively correlated with tree pollen counts (Spearman rho = 0.2389, p < 0.001). Conclusions: There exists a significant association between spring AREDV and ARH and tree pollen concentrations in a highly urbanized area such as the Bronx. Early anticipation of spring pollen peaks based on ongoing surveillance could potentially guide clinical practice and minimize asthma-related ED visits in the Bronx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Aerobiology
  • Asthma
  • Epidemiology
  • Mold
  • Morbidity
  • Pollen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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