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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013 Feb;110(2):80-5.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2012.11.005.

Association between latitude and allergic diseases: a longitudinal study from childhood to middle-age.

Author information

1
Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic Epidemiology, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Worldwide variations in allergy prevalence suggest that geographic factors may contribute to asthma. Ecologic studies have suggested that latitude, a marker of UV-B exposure and allergen exposures, may be related to clinical allergies.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relationship between latitude or UV-B based on self-reported geolocation and allergic sensitization and disease prevalence in Australia.

METHODS:

The Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study is a population-based study of respiratory disease spanning childhood to adulthood. The most recent follow-up included a postal survey of 5,729 participants and a clinical substudy of 1,396 participants. Participants' residential addresses were coded for latitude and linked with the UV-B data from satellite-based observations of atmospheric ozone. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to estimate the associations between latitude or UV-B and allergic diseases.

RESULTS:

Most northerly latitude, that is, latitude closest to the Equator, and high current UV-B exposure were associated with increased odds of hay fever, food allergy, and skin sensitization to house dust mites and molds. More northerly latitude and higher UV-B exposure were associated with increased odds of current asthma among atopic individuals contrasting with a reduced odds of current asthma among nonatopic individuals.

CONCLUSION:

This is the first study, to our knowledge, to demonstrate a differential effect of atopic status on the relationship between latitude and current asthma. Our study demonstrates in a genetically and culturally similar group of individuals that geographic factors may a play role in the development of allergic disease.

PMID:
23352525
DOI:
10.1016/j.anai.2012.11.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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