A retrospective study on intense health effects due to volcanic ash direct exposure during the eruption of Mount Etna (Sicily) in 2002

Background
During the continual eruption that occurred in October-November 2002 big amounts of volcanic ash fell on a densely populated area south-east of Mount Etna in Catania province. The volcanic ash fall triggered extensive damage to infrastructure energies and distress in the exposed population.

Techniques
We gathered the number and kind of check outs to the emergency department (ED) for illness that could be connected to ashes exposure in public medical facilities of the Province of Catania in between October 20 and November 7, 2002. We compared the magnitude of differences in ED sees in between the ash direct exposure duration in 2002 and the very same duration of the previous year 2001.

Results
We observed a considerable increase of ED visits for acute breathing and heart diseases, and ocular disturbances during the ash direct exposure time period.

Conclusions
There was a favorable association between direct exposure to ashes from the 2002 eruption of Mount Etna and intense health effects in the Catania locals. This study documents the need for public health readiness and reaction initiatives to safeguard neighboring populations from exposure to ash fall from future eruptions of Mount Etna.

Keywords: Intense health impacts, Ash fall, Cardiovascular effects, Emergency department visits, Breathing results, Volcanic eruption
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Background
There are a variety of active volcanoes throughout the world and much of them are close to city settings and major cities. Sometimes, they are responsible for pyroclastic emissions, consisting of a mix of gases, vapours, aerosols, and particulate matter. These emissions have the prospective to cause enormous environmental pollution and impact on climate, surface infrastructures and human activities, therefore resulting in a significant financial concern for both the community and the people [1] Amongst the adverse results of pyroclastic emissions (ash fall), those related to human health raise substantial concern in both exposed populations and health service administrators [1,2]

3-6] 9,10] 11]

Despite the fact that volcanic eruptions prevail throughout the world, and countless individuals are exposed to their health hazards, few studies have been released that evaluate acute and chronic health results therefore forming prevention and steps of intervention for local communities.

Mount Etna, situated in the eastern part of Sicily (Italy), is the most active volcano in Europe. Local winds brought the emissions for kilometers and subsequent ash fall affected a mainly populated area extending south of Mount Etna, which includes Catania, a significant city with nearly 315,000 occupants (Figure 1). Throughout the eruption the exposed population grumbled of health disturbances such as eye and air passage inflammation, cough, or acute exacerbation of persistent breathing conditions.