PerspectiveEpidemiology

Wildfire smoke, a potential infectious agent

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Science  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6523, pp. 1408-1410
DOI: 10.1126/science.abe8116

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Summary

Wildfires over the past 3 years have resulted in lengthy episodes of smoke inundation across major metropolitan areas in Australia, Brazil, and the United States. In 2020, air quality across the western United States reached and sustained extremely unhealthy to hazardous levels for successive weeks from August through November. Although the pulmonary and cardiovascular consequences of human exposure to smoke particulate matter are extensively researched, there remains little recognition or monitoring of a smoke component with potentially important health repercussions: microbes.

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