Examining the relationship between household air pollution and infant microbial nasal carriage in a Ghanaian cohort.Environ Int 2019; 133(Pt A):105150EI
Pneumonia, a leading cause of childhood mortality, is associated with household air pollution (HAP) exposure. Mechanisms between HAP and pneumonia are poorly understood, but studies suggest that HAP may increase the likelihood of bacterial, instead of viral, pneumonia. We assessed the relationship between HAP and infant microbial nasal carriage among 260 infants participating in the Ghana Randomized Air Pollution and Health Study (GRAPHS).
Data are from GRAPHS, a cluster-randomized controlled trial of cookstove interventions (improved biomass or LPG) versus the 3-stone (baseline) cookstove. Infants were surveyed for pneumonia during the first year of life and had routine personal exposure assessments. Nasopharyngeal swabs collected from pneumonia cases (n = 130) and healthy controls (n = 130) were analyzed for presence of 22 common respiratory microbes by MassTag polymerase chain reaction. Data analyses included intention-to-treat (ITT) comparisons of microbial species presence by study arm, and exposure-response relationships.
In ITT analyses, 3-stone arm participants had a higher mean number of microbial species than the LPG (LPG: 2.71, 3-stone: 3.34, p < 0.0001, n = 260). This difference was driven by increased bacterial (p < 0.0001) rather than viral species presence (non-significant). Results were pronounced in pneumonia cases and attenuated in healthy controls. Higher prevalence bacterial species were Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Moraxella catarrhalis. Exposure-response relationships did not yield significant associations between measured CO and nasal microbial carriage.
Our intention-to-treat findings are consistent with a link between HAP and bacterial nasal carriage. No relationships were found for viral carriage. Given the null results in exposure-response analysis, it is likely that a pollutant besides CO is driving these differences.