The November 2018 Camp Fire, a devastating wildfire in Northern California, occurred during the peak of breeding season for field monkeys at the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC). Effects of environmental stressors, such as wildfires, on birth outcomes in primates, and in humans, are poorly understood. Additionally, wildfires are of growing concern due to their increasing frequency and severity. The objective was to examine the impact of wildfire smoke on fertility, timing of birth, and pregnancy loss for field monkeys. A unique case-control study to investigate birth outcomes in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) was conducted at the CNPRC. All females in the study were maintained in outdoor fields during a period of elevated ambient wildfire smoke from November 8–22, 2018. In addition to ambient air quality evaluations, the effects on fertility, timing to birth, and pregnancy loss were documented. Archival records of approximately 5,000 conceptions from the previous nine years served as control data. During the Camp Fire, ambient fine particulate (PM 2.5) levels exceeded the 24 -h National Ambient Air Quality Standard (35 μg/m 3) of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, reaching levels as high as 185 μg/m 3. A statistically significant association was observed between birth loss and the 2018–2019 CNPRC breeding season. As this wildfire event occurred during various stages of early pregnancy, an association can be inferred between early gestational exposure and increased risk of pregnancy loss.
ASJC Scopus subject areas