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Wien Med Wochenschr. 2007;157(11-12):235-42.

Epidemiology of allergies in Austria. Results of the first Austrian allergy report.

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Institute of Social Medicine, Centre for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


The first Austrian Allergy Report is a compilation of all available epidemiological data relating to allergies in Austria. According to this report the cumulative prevalence of allergies in the Viennese population is 27.6% for men and 32.2% for women and the period prevalence in the year before questioning 19.6% and 22.4% respectively. 20.8% of men and 23.1% of women reported about allergies at health examinations. However, an allergy sensitivity to at least one inhalation allergen, verifiable by means of a prick test, is detectable in 50.8% of the general population and in 39.3% of those free from ailments. Analysis of the hospital discharge statistics of all Austrian hospitals shows that around 12,000 people per year were admitted on grounds of an allergy. In accordance with international studies some population sub groups are more often affected than others. Women suffer from allergies somewhat more frequently than men, although the sex difference is reversed among children. Allergies occur in all age groups, with most studies showing that people in their twenties are most frequently affected. People with higher levels of education, in more highly qualified jobs and living in urban areas are more commonly affected by allergies than people from lower socio-economic levels and rural communities. The internationally identified increase in trend can also be identified in Austria with a 2fold, 3.6fold, and 4.6fold increase in the prevalence of hay fever, asthma and atopic eczema respectively, determined from the military health examinations of all recruits for national service between 1986 and 2003/04, although a clear decline in allergy prevalence was registered between 2003/04 and 2005. Health reports like the first Austrian Allergy Report provide the basis for international comparison of basic data. These data also enable the evaluation of the impact of different diseases on the health system as well as the development of public health strategies.

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