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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Feb;111(2):402-7.

Current mite, cat, and dog allergen exposure, pet ownership, and sensitization to inhalant allergens in adults.

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  • 1North West Lung Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital, Southmoor Road, Manchester M23 9LT, United Kingdom.



Simultaneous exposure to more than one allergen might modify the effect of individual allergens.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of current exposures to mite, cat, and dog allergen and pet ownership on sensitization in adults.


Questionnaires, skin tests, and home visits (Der p 1, Fel d 1, and Can f 1, ELISA; mattresses, living room floors) were performed in 2502 adults. Allergen exposure was treated as a continuous variable and divided into quartiles. To investigate the interaction between allergens, quartiles for 3 allergens were added, creating arbitrary combined exposure categories.


In the univariate analysis, mite sensitization was associated with Der p 1 in mattresses (odds ratio [OR], 1.10; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.19; P =.03) and with Can f 1 in living room floors (OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.17; P =.05). In a multivariate regression analysis, Der p 1 in mattresses remained an independent associate of mite sensitization (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.23; P =.03) and pollen sensitization (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.36; P =.0001). The proportion of subjects sensitized to mite increased significantly with the increasing combined exposure categories (P <.0001). The highest prevalence of sensitization to cat and dog was in the medium combined exposure categories. Cat ownership was associated with a reduced prevalence of sensitization to cats (P =.002) and a reduced prevalence of sensitization to dog (P =.003) but had no effect on sensitization to mite and pollen.


Sensitization to dust mites increased with the increasing combined exposure. Cat ownership was associated with a lower prevalence of sensitization to cat and dog but not to mite and grass pollen.

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