Introduction Confined and crowded environments, such as public transport, can act as hot spots for spreading infectious diseases. Of these, common acute respiratory infections of easy contagion are of great interest. Objectives To establish the association between the use of ground public transport and the acquisition of common cold in Lima, Peru. Methods Analytical cross-sectional study. It was carried out through secondary data analysis from a primary study conducted at the Faculty of Medicine of the Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru. The dependent variable was the acquisition of common colds, and the independent variable was the use of public transportation (bus, metropolitan, bus corridor, collective cab, non-collective cab, and other means). The covariates of interests were age, sex, and socioeconomic level time and frequency of exposure. Generalized linear models were performed to estimate prevalence ratios (PR), using the Poisson family, log link and robust models. Results Of the 591 respondents, 53% were female, the median age was 20 years, and 90.3% belonged to the middle class. Most traveled by bus (72.4%), and in the last three months the median number of colds was one. We found a difference in the number of colds according to the age of the respondents (P = 0.019). Having a common cold was associated with traveling more days per week in public transport (adjusted prevalence ratio: 1.04; 95% confidence interval: 1.03 to 1.05; p value < 0.001), spending more minutes per day traveling to work (1.0025; 1.0023 to 1.0027; p value < 0.001), more minutes per day returning home (1.0022; 1.0015 to 1.0030; p value < 0.001), more use of the subway or metro (1.37; 1.29 to 1.46; p value < 0.001), or using the municipal bus corridor (1.22; 1.01 to 1.47; p value = 0.036). Conclusions The use of public ground transportation is associated with the acquisition of the common cold. Confined spaces and poor ventilation are essential factors to consider.
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