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Cent Afr J Med. 1999 Jun;45(6):144-7.

Aero-allergen sensitisation patterns amongst atopic Zimbabwean children.

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Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Zimbabwe Medical School, Avondale, Harare.



To characterize children presenting with atopic conditions using the RAST test.


Retrospective descriptive study.


General paediatric clinic in the private sector.


84 children aged below 12 years, who had the RAST test, who presented to a general paediatric clinic between 1993 and 1998 with atopic conditions for care.


The median age for all children in the study was 52 months. Forty eight were male and 36 female. Eczema (33.9%) was the most frequent clinical diagnosis especially in those less than 24 months of age, followed by asthma (25.5%), allergic conjunctivitis (24.0%) and allergic rhinitis (15.6%). Total IgE was not statistically significantly associated with clinical diagnosis(p = 0.889), age of the child (p = 0.102), gender (p = 0.687) or absolute eosinophil count (p = 0.318). The commonest allergens identified were dust mite (Dermatophygoides pteronissinus and D. farinae) and Bermuda grass. While antibody reaction to weeds, particularly plantain, were also common, these reactions were mostly mild to moderate. Allergy to cats and moulds was rare.


In the absence of routine testing for specific allergens avoidance of dust mite and Bermuda grass seem important strategies in the management of difficult children with atopy. There is need for a prospective study to shed more light on the allergens that cause these common atopic conditions in our environment.

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