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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(6), 6710-6724; doi:10.3390/ijerph120606710

An Evaluation of the British Columbia Asthma Monitoring System (BCAMS) and PM2.5 Exposure Metrics during the 2014 Forest Fire Season

1
Environmental Health Services, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, 655 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4R4, Canada
2
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Paul B. Tchounwou and William A. Toscano
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 9 June 2015 / Published: 12 June 2015
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Abstract

The British Columbia Asthma Monitoring System (BCAMS) tracks forest fire smoke exposure and asthma-related health outcomes, identifying excursions beyond expected daily counts. Weekly reports during the wildfire season support public health and emergency management decision-making. We evaluated BCAMS by identifying excursions for asthma-related physician visits and dispensations of the reliever medication salbutamol sulfate and examining their corresponding smoke exposures. A disease outbreak detection algorithm identified excursions from 1 July to 31 August 2014. Measured, modeled, and forecasted concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were used to assess exposure. We assigned PM2.5 levels to excursions by choosing the highest value within a seven day window centred on the excursion day. Smoky days were defined as those with PM2.5 levels ≥ 25 µg/m3. Most excursions (57%–71%) were assigned measured or modeled PM2.5 concentrations of 10 µg/m3 or higher. Of the smoky days, 55.8% and 69.8% were associated with at least one excursion for physician visits and salbutamol dispensations, respectively. BCAMS alerted most often when measures of smoke exposure were relatively high. Better performance might be realized by combining asthma-related outcome metrics in a bivariate model. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest fire smoke; particulate matter; environmental exposure; asthma; public health surveillance; evaluation studies forest fire smoke; particulate matter; environmental exposure; asthma; public health surveillance; evaluation studies
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

McLean, K.E.; Yao, J.; Henderson, S.B. An Evaluation of the British Columbia Asthma Monitoring System (BCAMS) and PM2.5 Exposure Metrics during the 2014 Forest Fire Season. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 6710-6724.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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