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Assessing the Exacerbations Risk of Influenza-Associated Chronic Occupational Asthma

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The purpose of this article was to conduct a risk-based study based on a linkage of experimental human influenza infections and fluctuation analysis of airway function to assess whether influenza viral infection was risk factor for exacerbations of chronic occupational asthma. Here we provided a comprehensive probabilistic analysis aimed at quantifying influenza-associated exacerbations risk for occupational asthmatics, based on a combination of published distributions of viral shedding and symptoms scores and lung respiratory system properties characterized by long-range peak expiratory flow (PEF) dynamics. Using a coupled detrended fluctuation analysis-experimental human influenza approach, we estimated the conditional probability of moderate or severe lung airway obstruction and hence the exacerbations risk of influenza-associated occupational asthma in individuals. The long-range correlation exponent (α) was used as a predictor of future exacerbations risk of influenza-associated asthma. For our illustrative distribution of PEF fluctuations and influenza-induced asthma exacerbations risk relations, we found that the probability of exacerbations risk can be limited to below 50% by keeping α to below 0.53. This study also found that limiting wheeze scores to 0.56 yields a 75% probability of influenza-associated asthma exacerbations risk and a limit of 0.34 yields a 50% probability that may give a representative estimate of the distribution of chronic respiratory system properties. This study implicates that influenza viral infection is an important risk factor for exacerbations of chronic occupational asthma.

Keywords: Asthma; detrended fluctuation analysis; exacerbations risk; influenza; probabilistic risk assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 10617, ROC.

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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