[RATES OF MICROCEPHALY AMONG NEONATES IN AIR POLLUTED REGIONS OF HAIFA BAY]

Koren G, Katz R, Shalev V

Harefuah 2018 Oct;157(10):643-645

PMID: 30343542

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In 2016 Israeli news media reported preliminary results of research claiming higher incidence of microcephaly among newborns in air polluted areas in Haifa Bay. These news prompted high levels of anxiety and anger.

OBJECTIVES: To quantify the incidence of microcephaly in Haifa Bay and compare it to the rest of Israel.

METHODS: Employing Maccabi electronic health records to compare rates of microcephaly among neonates followed up in Maccabi’s well-baby clinics to the same clinics in the rest of Israel.

RESULTS: Mean head circumference percentile was similar in Haifa Bay and the rest of Israel (38.09+/- 26.42 vs 37.59+-25.62), as was the rate of microcephaly (4.92% vs. 4.83%).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings do not support air pollution as an etiological factor of microcephaly in Haifa Bay.

DISCUSSION: Air pollution is not associated with higher rates of microcephaly in Haifa Bay.