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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1985 Jan;75(1 Pt 1):75-83.

The association between Dermatophagoides mites and the increasing prevalence of asthma in village communities within the Papua New Guinea highlands.


The prevalence of asthma among adults but not children living in eight South Fore villages of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea has risen dramatically over the past decade and now is 6 per 1000 in the age group less than 20 yr and 73 per 1000 in the age group more than 20 yr. Allergy to house dust mites appears to be a significant feature in the disease pathogenesis, and it is likely that this is associated with modifications to traditional lifestyles by the recent introduction of blankets and changes in sleeping habits that promote a more fertile environment for growth and multiplication of mites. Asthma is now provoked by a wide range of factors such as exertion, stress, and antecedent respiratory tract infections, which have always been common features of the South Fore way of life. This suggests that allergic reactivity may be the precursor of bronchial hyperreactivity that, once manifested, can be triggered by a variety of stimuli, not all of which are immunologic in origin.

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