The study conducted by Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht teaching hospital was published in the scientific journal Pneumonia.
Researchers studied 92,500 people living around Tilburg, Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands and conclusively showed that air pollution from the farms negatively affects the health of local residents.
“There is now more understanding about the exact causes of pneumonia near poultry farms,” said Professor Dick Heederic of Utrecht University.
A prior study had looked at the bacteria in patient’s throats, suggesting that this was affected if they lived near a farm. “This means a potential villain like the pneumococcus (bacterium) has the chance to cause pneumonia,” Heederic said.
“Unlike Q fever cases near goat farms, it does not seem that the cause is a specific bacterium in poultry farming. Last-scale dust emissions give the ever-present pneumococcus a chance to come out to play.”
People does not get sick directly because of chicken dust, but the balance in their bacterial flora changes, making them more susceptible to bacterial pneumonia.