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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2004 Apr;15(2):142-7.

Low frequency of positive skin tests in asthmatic patients infected with Schistosoma mansoni exposed to high levels of mite allergens.

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Serviço de Imunologia do Hospital Universitario Prof. Edgar Santos, Salvador, Bahia, Brasil.


Helminthic infections and allergic diseases are highly prevalent in many parts of the world. Although skin reactivity to indoor allergens is decreased in subjects from helminthic endemic areas, the degree of exposure to mite allergens has not yet been investigated in these areas. This study evaluated the association between exposure to dust mites and skin reactivity to mite allergens in subjects with a history of wheezing in the last 12 months selected from a rural endemic area for schistosomiasis (group I, n = 21), and two non-Schistosoma mansoni endemic locale, a rural area (group II, n = 21) and a urban slum area (group III, n = 21). All subjects were evaluated by skin prick tests with mite allergens, and for total and specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) against dust mites, antibodies for S. mansoni, and for intestinal parasites. Dust samples from each subjects' home were quantified for mite allergen and species of the mite identification. Except for S. mansoni infection which was more prevalent in group I than in groups II and III (p < 0.0001), the prevalence of intestinal parasites, and total and specific IgE levels were similar for all groups. Despite the levels of mite allergens and specifically to Der p 1 detected in dust samples of subjects home from all three areas, the frequency of positive skin reactivity to mite antigens was significantly lower (19.0%) in subjects from group I relative to group II (76.2%) and group III (57.1%; p < 0.001). This result suggests that S. mansoni infection could modulate the immediate hypersensitivity skin response to mite allergens in highly exposed subjects.

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