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Differentiated impacts of short-term exposure to fine particulate constituents on infectious diseases in 507 cities of Chinese children and adolescents: A nationwide time-stratified case-crossover study from 2008 to 2021.

This study assesses the association of short-term exposure to PM2.5 (particles ≤2.5 μm) on infectious diseases among Chinese children and adolescents. Analyzing data from 507 cities (2008-2021) on 42 diseases, it focuses on PM2.5 components (black carbon (BC), ammonium (NH4 + ), inorganic nitrate (NO3 - ), organic matter (OM), and sulfate (SO4 2- )). PM2.5 constituents significantly associated with incidence. Sulfate showed the most substantial effect, increasing all-cause infectious disease risk by 2.72 % per interquartile range (IQR) increase. It was followed by BC (2.04 % increase), OM (1.70 %), NO3 - (1.67 %), and NH4 + (0.79 %). Specifically, sulfate and BC had pronounced impacts on respiratory diseases, with sulfate linked to a 10.73 % increase in seasonal influenza risk and NO3 - to a 16.39 % rise in tuberculosis. Exposure to PM2.5 also marginally increased risks for gastrointestinal, enterovirus, and vectorborne diseases like dengue (7.46 % increase with SO4 2- ). Sexually transmitted and bloodborne diseases saw an approximate 6.26 % increase in incidence, with specific constituents linked to diseases like hepatitis C and syphilis. The study concludes that managing PM2.5 levels could substantially reduce infectious disease incidence, particularly in China's middle-northern regions. It highlights the necessity of stringent air quality standards and targeted disease prevention, aligning PM2.5 management with international guidelines for public health protection.

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