An overview of bioaerosol load and health impacts associated with dust storms: A focus on the Middle East

Atmospheric Environment
By: , and 



Dust storms are an important environmental problem worldwide. The main sources of dust storms include the Sahara, the Middle East, and central and northeastern Asia. Dust storms originating from these regions can be dispersed across oceans and in some cases globally. They occur throughout the year and vary in frequency and intensity. The biological agents (e.g., fungi, bacteria and viruses) and the mineral and chemical compositions of dust may have adverse effects on human health and quality of life. Desert dusts may cause respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cardiopulmonary diseases, mental health issues, injuries and death from transport accidents caused by poor visibility. This paper presents dust storm human health research conducted in the Middle East in both indoor and outdoor environments. Results illustrate that particle concentration and bioaerosol types in the atmosphere are affected by climate change and meteorological factors. Recent data trends indicate that annual dust aerosol concentrations have increased worldwide. According to studies conducted in the Middle East, the incidence of respiratory and cardiovascular mortality and hospital visits have increased dramatically following dust storm exposures but very few have demonstrated a regional causation. National and international collaborative efforts are needed to advance our understanding of the global implications of dust storms and what may be the most effective means of mitigation.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An overview of bioaerosol load and health impacts associated with dust storms: A focus on the Middle East
Series title Atmospheric Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.117187
Volume 223
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 117187, 17 p.
Country Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria
Other Geospatial Middle East
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