Ambient air pollution exposure linked to long COVID among young adults: a nested survey in a population-based cohort in Sweden.

Yu Z, Ekström S, Bellander T, Ljungman P, Pershagen G, Eneroth K, Kull I, Bergström A, Georgelis A, Stafoggia M, Gruzieva O, Melén E, BAMSE COVID-19 Study Group

Lancet Reg Health Eur 28 (-) 100608 [2023-05-00; online 2023-03-07]

Post COVID-19 conditions, also known as long COVID, are of public health concern, but little is known about their underlying risk factors. We aimed to investigate associations of air pollution exposure with long COVID among Swedish young adults. We used data from the BAMSE (Children, Allergy, Environment, Stockholm, Epidemiology [in Swedish]) cohort. From October 2021 to February 2022 participants answered a web-questionnaire focusing on persistent symptoms following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. Long COVID was defined as symptoms after confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2 lasting for two months or longer. Ambient air pollution levels (particulate matter ≤2.5 μm [PM2.5], ≤10 μm [PM10], black carbon [BC] and nitrogen oxides [NOx]) at individual-level addresses were estimated using dispersion modelling. A total of 753 participants with SARS-CoV-2 infection were included of whom 116 (15.4%) reported having long COVID. The most common symptoms were altered smell/taste (n = 80, 10.6%), dyspnea (n = 36, 4.8%) and fatigue (n = 34, 4.5%). Median annual PM2.5 exposure in 2019 (pre-pandemic) was 6.39 (interquartile range [IQR] 6.06-6.71) μg/m3. Adjusted Odds Ratios (95% confidence intervals) of PM2.5 per IQR increase were 1.28 (1.02-1.60) for long COVID, 1.65 (1.09-2.50) for dyspnea symptoms and 1.29 (0.97-1.70) for altered smell/taste. Positive associations were found for the other air pollutants and remained consistent across sensitivity analyses. Associations tended to be stronger among participants with asthma, and those having had COVID during 2020 (versus 2021). Ambient long-term PM2.5 exposure may affect the risk of long COVID in young adults, supporting efforts for continuously improving air quality. The study received funding from the Swedish Research Council (grant no. 2020-01886, 2022-06340), the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare (FORTE grant no. 2017-01146), the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, Karolinska Institute (no. 2022-01807) and Region Stockholm (ALF project for cohort and database maintenance).

Category: Post-COVID

Category: Public Health

Funder: Hjärt-Lungfonden

Funder: VR

Type: Journal article

PubMed 37131862

DOI 10.1016/j.lanepe.2023.100608

Crossref 10.1016/j.lanepe.2023.100608

pmc: PMC9989696
pii: S2666-7762(23)00026-1

Publications 9.5.0