Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMJ. 1997 Apr 5;314(7086):999-1003.

Cross sectional retrospective study of prevalence of atopy among Italian military students with antibodies against hepatitis A virus.

Author information

1
Laboratorio di Immunologia cd Allergologia, Divisione Aerea, Studi Ricerche e Sperimentaziom, Pomezia (Roma), Italy. matricardi.pm@mclink.it

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the working hypothesis that common infections occurring early in life prevent atopy.

DESIGN:

Cross sectional, retrospective study of young Italian men with results for hepatitis A serology and atopy.

SETTING:

Air force school of military students in Caserta, Italy.

SUBJECTS:

1659 male students aged 17-24, most of whom (90%) were from central and southern Italy.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Skin sensitisation and specific IgE antibodies to locally relevant airborne allergens; diagnosis of respiratory allergy (asthma or rhinitis, or both); hepatitis A seropositivity.

RESULTS:

443 of the 1659 subjects (26.7%) were positive for hepatitis A virus antibody. Atopy was less common among seropositive than seronegative subjects according to skin sensitization (weal reaction > or = 3 mm) to one or more allergens (21.9% (97/443) v 30.2% (367/1216), P < 0.001); polysensitisation (sensitive to three or more allergens) (2.7% (12/443) v 6.4% (78/1216), P < 0.01); high specific IgF concentration (9.7% (43/443) v 18.4% (224/1216), P < 0.00005); and lifetime prevalence of allergic rhinitis or asthma, or both (8.4% (37/443) v 16.7% (203/1216), P < 0.001). Hepatitis A seropositivity remained inversely associated with atopy after adjusting for father's education, the number of older siblings, and the area of residence (based on the number of inhabitants). The prevalence of atopy was constantly low among seropositive subjects, whatever the number of older siblings; by contrast, it increased with a decreasing number of older siblings among seronegative subjects.

CONCLUSION:

Indirect but important evidence is added to the working hypothesis as common infections acquired early in life because of the presence of many older siblings (among seronegative subjects) or because of unhygienic living conditions (among seropositive subjects) may have reduced the risk of developing atopy.

Comment in

PMID:
9112843
PMCID:
PMC2126410
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center