American Thoracic Society news tips for November

November 15, 2000

Pneumonia cases cluster in specific zip code areas

Two different studies of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) cases in patients with HIV revealed that the disease is clustered in specific zip code areas in two separate U.S. cities. In the first study, researchers studied 246 HIV-infected persons with confirmed PCP and a San Francisco, California, address. Six San Francisco zip codes averaged 29 cases of PCP each, accounting for 72 percent of the patient total. Also, in one zip code, persons were one-fifth as likely to have PCP as those living in the other zip codes. In the second study, researchers showed that, for 118 HIV-infected patients, four zip code areas in Cincinnati, Ohio, were associated with the highest risks for PCP. In contrast, over a four-year period, no clustering was seen in the 960 patients treated at their AIDS Treatment Center, nor was clustering detected for the study's control subjects. The authors of the second study believe their research findings, as well as those from San Francisco, are valuable because each provides new insights into the epidemiologic features of this infection and suggests fertile new areas of investigation. Both research studies appear in the November issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Low birthweight or prematurity increases ozone risk for asthmatic children

In a group of 846 inner-city asthmatic children between the ages of four and nine, researchers found that youngsters whose birthweight was low or who had been born prematurely showed the greatest response to summer ozone. These researchers believe that among asthmatic children, birth characteristics continue to be associated with increased susceptibility to air pollution later in life. In this study, boys seemed to have a greater response to increases in ozone than did girls. The authors said that an unexpected finding was that electric rather than gas stoves were associated with an increased risk of effects from ozone exposure. They also found that children who were both exposed to and sensitized to cat allergen had a greater response to ozone. The investigators noted that the study underscores the need to consider the effects of prenatal and possibly early postnatal development in pulmonary function, as well as ongoing susceptibility to a myriad of adverse exposures. The research is published in the November issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
For either the complete text of these articles or to contact the investigators by e-mail, please see the ATS Journal Online Website at Medical and scientific journalists who would like to interview these researchers, receive a complimentary subscription to the ATS journals, and/or receive the ATS news briefs by e-mail each month, should contact Lori Quigley at 212 315-6442, by fax at (212) 315-6455, or by e-mail at

American Thoracic Society

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