In Italy, scientists at the University of Milan wanted to find out how higher levels of air pollution leads to increased health issues including respiratory infections, stroke and heart disease. They found that higher air pollution concentrations led to much lower microbe diversity in the nasal swabs taken from 40 people in the study.
Using genetic sequencing, the found that healthy bacteria, such as Actinobacteria, was much lower in volunteers exposed to higher levels of pollution. Harmful bacteria, such as Moraxella, however, was found in greater concentrations in people exposed to higher pollution levels. This study offers a look at the direct connection between higher pollution levels and higher respiratory infections and other diseases.