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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2008;147(3):231-4. doi: 10.1159/000142046. Epub 2008 Jul 2.

The clinical characteristics of respiratory allergy in immigrants in northern Italy.

Author information

1
Allergy Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Sant'Orsola Hospital, Brescia, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Respiratory allergy is influenced and determined by genetic and environmental factors. Migration is a good epidemiological model to indirectly assess the influence of the environment. We assessed the clinical characteristics of respiratory allergy in immigrants in Brescia, Italy.

METHODS:

We prospectively collected the data of all immigrants referred to our allergy service for respiratory complaints since 1992. All patients underwent a standard diagnostic workup. The records of a matched Italian population of 1,534 patients were examined for comparison.

RESULTS:

Two hundred and thirty-seven patients were evaluated (108 male, mean age 36.3 years). Their countries of origin were uniformly distributed among 4 macroareas (Asia, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe). All patients were referred less than 1 month after the onset of symptoms. Family history for atopy was positive in 9% and clinical history of respiratory allergy was positive in 2%. The mean time of onset of symptoms after immigration was 5.21 years, and the onset symptoms were rhinitis and asthma in 68% patients. Twenty-five percent were monosensitized subjects and 20% of patients had cockroach positivity. Some characteristics (family history, previous clinical history and severity of rhinitis) were clearly different from those of the Italian control population.

CONCLUSION:

In this population of immigrants, it seems that environmental factors, more than genetic ones, play a role in the onset of respiratory allergy.

PMID:
18594153
DOI:
10.1159/000142046
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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