Geocorrelation of Contributing Factors to Asthma in New South Wales

  • Lim S


This paper aims to identify contributing factors and geographical correlations to asthma patients in New South Wales, Australia. Socio-demographic data such as poverty/income levels and asthma triggers e.g. air pollution are examined. Not only the percentile asthma patients within a given geographical areas but also spatial relationships among contributing factors are studied. The main constraint of previous studies is that detailed geographic information of asthma patients is unavailable due to the confidentiality issues. Spatial functions and database queries are utilized in this study in order to overcome such a detrimental disadvantage and restore the geographic information up to the postcode level based on a population-weighted interpolation. From previous study results in other countries, influencing factors to asthma prevalence in NSW are hypothesized to be poverty/income levels and air pollution. However, this study indicates that no statistically meaningful correlation between poverty/income levels and asthma occurrences in NSW is found. Eleven suburbs in non-metropolitan areas exhibit a relatively high rate (greater than 1%) of asthma occurrences. This finding is also different from the previous study result that asthma patients are likely found in inner cities. Significant air pollution in close proximity to an area with a high rate of asthma patients is identified by a buffer analysis. Particulate matter of less than 2.5 micrometers is identified as a strongly contributing factor to the largest number of asthma patients. The relationships between air pollution and asthma intensity from this study are useful information to alert asthma sufferers to be aware of the levels of air pollution, weather conditions, and locations where high levels of pollutants are anticipated.