The fires in the Brazilian amazon rainforest may be related to the increase in the number of hospitalizations for respiratory complications in the state of PARÁ

amazon fires

(Arthur V., Unsplash)

This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Laryza Souza Soares, Maria Iara Alves Araújo, Ana Carla da Silva Mendes, Ana Beatriz Pereira Sobreira, Brenda Lacerda Menezes and Virginia Maia Lacerda, medical students at the Faculdade de Medicina Estácio de Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil, with the support of Dra. Isabelle Lima Mendes. All authors are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA), the cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the subject, nor The European Sting’s view.


The Brazilian Legal Amazon concentrates more than 85% of forest fires. This percentage is of concern worldwide as it can accelerate global climate change and the release of toxins into the atmosphere. In the directly affected territory, the damage is numerous. Among the health impacts, the respiratory system is the main target.

Admittedly, burning biomass releases harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxides (NO3), hydrocarbons, ozone (O3), aldehydes and peroxyacyl nitrates, which damage the respiratory epithelium and may initiate or aggravate disease. such as COPD, rhinitis, asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis, especially those who already have a weakened immune system, such as immunosuppressed, children, and the elderly.

According to Burnt program of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), there are 415,403 fires in the Amazon rainforest of Pará, with prevalence among 2008 (p: 48449), 2009 (p: 41,664) and 2010 (p: 57,196), with other peaks in 2015. (p: 46,164) and 2017 (49,770). Across the country, the city Altamira (PA) was the most prevalent. This municipality has area of ​​159,533.328 km², Brazil’s largest city and one of the largest closed forest areas in the Eastern Amazon, is home to a biodiversity-rich forest containing numerous endangered animal species.

It is known that in areas close to burnings there are direct short and medium term consequences, therefore, according to DataSUS from 2008 to 2011, the increase in hospitalizations for lung diseases was correlated from 2008 (which remained high until 2013 and decreased by end of 2018), recorded the numbers of hospitalizations: 2008 (p: 66,616), 2009 (p: 77,658), 2010 (p: 73,349), 2011 (p: 70,801), 2012 (p: 64,523), 2013 (p : 63,435), 2014 (p: 55,686), 2015 (p: 48,898), 2016 (p: 44,678), 2017 (p: 50,420), 2018 (p: 45,922), totaling 666,329. There are very similar variations in the amount of forest fires in the region.

Some ecologic studies consider the relationship between the impacts of oxidative stress burns on the airways and the development of cancer in these organs, this fact is not proven, but there is suggestive evidence in the present study, with a prevalence of 45% mortality in Altamira. malignant neoplasm of the bronchi, lungs, trachea and other parts of the airway, compared with a national rate of only 23.61%.

The lungs of Altamira residents and others 143 cities in the state of Pará are already directly suffering the impacts of the fires, which are not decreasing in proportion, on the contrary, had in August the highest monthly records of the last ten years. The date August 10 was called by some journalists as the “day of the fire”, because it represented a date in which there were multiple outbreaks of fires, suggesting that it was the work of a group architecture of the country’s powerful agronomists. Thus, by the years of such devastation and by the immense extent burned annually, the lungs of the world are also at imminent risk.

About the author

This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Laryza Souza Soares, Maria Iara Alves Araújo, Ana Carla da Silva Mendes, Ana Beatriz Pereira Sobreira, Brenda Lacerda Menezes and Virginia Maia Lacerda, medical students at the Faculdade de Medicina Estácio de Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil, with the support of Dra. Isabelle Lima Mendes. All authors are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA), the cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this
piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the subject, nor The European Sting’s view.

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