The environmental health catastrophe in Urmia Lake and asthma disease: a cohort study
Jafar Musapour 1, Saeed Dastgiri 2 * , Mohammad Asghari Jafarabadi 3, Parisa Ziasarabi 2, Jila Khamnian 4
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1 School of Public Health, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2 Tabriz Health Services Management Research Centre, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
3 Road Traffic Injury Research Centre, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
4 School of Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
* Corresponding Author


Urmia Lake of Iran used to be the largest saltwater lake in the world. It has now disastrously shrunk to 10 percent of its previous size. This study aims to investigate the impact of this environmental catastrophe on the occurrence of asthma.

The whole population of ten districts in the area were investigated in this retrospective cohort study: “Exposed group” in the neighbouring areas of the lake, “Not exposed group 1” with medium distance (65 km) from the lake, and “Not exposed group 2” with more than 160 km from the lake. Clinical diagnosis of asthma was performed by the family physicians in the whole population.

The occurrence risk of asthma in “Exposed group” was 1.85 times higher (CI95%: 1.1- 3.0) than of “Not exposed group 1”. The risk of disease, similarly, in “Exposed group” was 1.44 times more (CI95%: 0.9-2.3) when compared to “Not exposed group 2”.

The country and provincial authorities should consider this hazardous climate change in the region seriously before it becomes a harmful event for millions of people living in the area.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Original Article

Electron J Gen Med, 2019 - Volume 16 Issue 4, Article No: em147

Publication date: 16 Jul 2019

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