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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002 Apr;88(4):416-20.

Comparison of positive allergy skin tests among asthmatic children from rural and urban areas living within small geographic area.

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Department of Pediatrics, Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon, Israel.



Evidence of increased asthma and allergic response among urban versus rural residents has been reported.


To evaluate the prevalence of allergic response among asthmatic children from urban and rural areas living within close proximity.


In all, 448 asthmatic children from urban (363) and rural (85) areas were studied. The study group consisted of 234 9-year-olds and 214 12-year-olds. A health questionnaire was completed on each child who subsequently underwent allergic skin prick tests (SPTs).


There was significantly more positive SPT response to house-dust mite, mold, cat, and cypress among asthmatic children from urban areas compared with children living in rural areas: 58.3% versus 37.6%, 46.1% versus 31.8%, 17.45 versus 5.9%, and 26.2% versus 15.3%, respectively. Positive SPT for indoor allergens were significantly greater among asthmatic urban residents than asthmatic rural residents: 63.3% versus 45.5%, respectively (P < 0.02). Positive SPT response to all the allergens checked was higher among the 12-year-old age group when compared with the 9-year-olds, 34.6% versus 22.7%, respectively (P = 0.05).


Allergic response measured by SPT is significantly more common among asthmatic children from urban areas as opposed to rural, even though both areas are within small distance of one another. Further, asthmatic children living in urban areas demonstrated more allergic response to both indoor and outdoor allergens. The allergic response tends to increase with increased age in both urban and rural asthmatic children.

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