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The costs of respiratory illnesses arising from Florida gulf coast Karenia brevis blooms.

Hoagland P, Jin D, Polansky LY, Kirkpatrick B, Kirkpatrick G, Fleming LE, Reich A, Watkins SM, Ullmann SG, Backer LC - Environ. Health Perspect. (2009)

Bottom Line: The capitalized estimated marginal costs of illness for ED respiratory illnesses associated with K. brevis blooms in Sarasota County, Florida, alone ranged from $0.5 to $4 million, depending on bloom severity.Blooms of K. brevis lead to significant economic impacts.It will become increasingly necessary to understand the scale of the economic losses associated with K. brevis blooms to make rational choices about appropriate mitigation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA. phoagland@whoi.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Algal blooms of Karenia brevis, a harmful marine algae, occur almost annually off the west coast of Florida. At high concentrations, K. brevis blooms can cause harm through the release of potent toxins, known as brevetoxins, to the atmosphere. Epidemiologic studies suggest that aerosolized brevetoxins are linked to respiratory illnesses in humans.

Objectives: We hypothesized a relationship between K. brevis blooms and respiratory illness visits to hospital emergency departments (EDs) while controlling for environmental factors, disease, and tourism. We sought to use this relationship to estimate the costs of illness associated with aerosolized brevetoxins.

Methods: We developed a statistical exposure-response model to express hypotheses about the relationship between respiratory illnesses and bloom events. We estimated the model with data on ED visits, K. brevis cell densities, and measures of pollen, pollutants, respiratory disease, and intra-annual population changes.

Results: We found that lagged K. brevis cell counts, low air temperatures, influenza outbreaks, high pollen counts, and tourist visits helped explain the number of respiratory-specific ED diagnoses. The capitalized estimated marginal costs of illness for ED respiratory illnesses associated with K. brevis blooms in Sarasota County, Florida, alone ranged from $0.5 to $4 million, depending on bloom severity.

Conclusions: Blooms of K. brevis lead to significant economic impacts. The costs of illness of ED visits are a conservative estimate of the total economic impacts. It will become increasingly necessary to understand the scale of the economic losses associated with K. brevis blooms to make rational choices about appropriate mitigation.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Weekly ED visits for UAD and bronchitis. (A) Number of actual SMH ED visits in each week for UAD and bronchitis and the predicted number of visits for the same illnesses using model II. (B) Number of ED visits in each week for the same illnesses predicted to have been caused by brevetoxin exposure.
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f1-ehp-117-1239: Weekly ED visits for UAD and bronchitis. (A) Number of actual SMH ED visits in each week for UAD and bronchitis and the predicted number of visits for the same illnesses using model II. (B) Number of ED visits in each week for the same illnesses predicted to have been caused by brevetoxin exposure.

Mentions: All parameter estimates have the expected signs and are significant at the 10% level or better in both models. The model results show that ED visits for respiratory ailments are correlated with lagged K. brevis cell counts, regional pollen counts, regional influenza outbreaks, and Sarasota County tourist visits, and inversely correlated with temperature and temperature lagged 1 week. Both models explained about three-fourths of the variation in their respective dependent variables. Figure 1A illustrates how well the model predicts ED visits compared with the actual data. The marginal effects (the incremental change in ED visits with an incremental change in the variable of interest) and the elasticities (percentage change in ED visits with a percentage change in the variable of interest) are shown in Table 3. Both measures reveal the importance of temperature and tourist numbers as predictors of ED visits.


The costs of respiratory illnesses arising from Florida gulf coast Karenia brevis blooms.

Hoagland P, Jin D, Polansky LY, Kirkpatrick B, Kirkpatrick G, Fleming LE, Reich A, Watkins SM, Ullmann SG, Backer LC - Environ. Health Perspect. (2009)

Weekly ED visits for UAD and bronchitis. (A) Number of actual SMH ED visits in each week for UAD and bronchitis and the predicted number of visits for the same illnesses using model II. (B) Number of ED visits in each week for the same illnesses predicted to have been caused by brevetoxin exposure.
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2721867&req=5

f1-ehp-117-1239: Weekly ED visits for UAD and bronchitis. (A) Number of actual SMH ED visits in each week for UAD and bronchitis and the predicted number of visits for the same illnesses using model II. (B) Number of ED visits in each week for the same illnesses predicted to have been caused by brevetoxin exposure.
Mentions: All parameter estimates have the expected signs and are significant at the 10% level or better in both models. The model results show that ED visits for respiratory ailments are correlated with lagged K. brevis cell counts, regional pollen counts, regional influenza outbreaks, and Sarasota County tourist visits, and inversely correlated with temperature and temperature lagged 1 week. Both models explained about three-fourths of the variation in their respective dependent variables. Figure 1A illustrates how well the model predicts ED visits compared with the actual data. The marginal effects (the incremental change in ED visits with an incremental change in the variable of interest) and the elasticities (percentage change in ED visits with a percentage change in the variable of interest) are shown in Table 3. Both measures reveal the importance of temperature and tourist numbers as predictors of ED visits.

Bottom Line: The capitalized estimated marginal costs of illness for ED respiratory illnesses associated with K. brevis blooms in Sarasota County, Florida, alone ranged from $0.5 to $4 million, depending on bloom severity.Blooms of K. brevis lead to significant economic impacts.It will become increasingly necessary to understand the scale of the economic losses associated with K. brevis blooms to make rational choices about appropriate mitigation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA. phoagland@whoi.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Algal blooms of Karenia brevis, a harmful marine algae, occur almost annually off the west coast of Florida. At high concentrations, K. brevis blooms can cause harm through the release of potent toxins, known as brevetoxins, to the atmosphere. Epidemiologic studies suggest that aerosolized brevetoxins are linked to respiratory illnesses in humans.

Objectives: We hypothesized a relationship between K. brevis blooms and respiratory illness visits to hospital emergency departments (EDs) while controlling for environmental factors, disease, and tourism. We sought to use this relationship to estimate the costs of illness associated with aerosolized brevetoxins.

Methods: We developed a statistical exposure-response model to express hypotheses about the relationship between respiratory illnesses and bloom events. We estimated the model with data on ED visits, K. brevis cell densities, and measures of pollen, pollutants, respiratory disease, and intra-annual population changes.

Results: We found that lagged K. brevis cell counts, low air temperatures, influenza outbreaks, high pollen counts, and tourist visits helped explain the number of respiratory-specific ED diagnoses. The capitalized estimated marginal costs of illness for ED respiratory illnesses associated with K. brevis blooms in Sarasota County, Florida, alone ranged from $0.5 to $4 million, depending on bloom severity.

Conclusions: Blooms of K. brevis lead to significant economic impacts. The costs of illness of ED visits are a conservative estimate of the total economic impacts. It will become increasingly necessary to understand the scale of the economic losses associated with K. brevis blooms to make rational choices about appropriate mitigation.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus