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Table of Contents
Vol. 118, No. 2-4, 1999
Issue release date: February – April
Section title: Risk Factors for Atopy and Specific Sensitization
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 1999;118:403–407
(DOI:10.1159/000024148)

Environmental Risk Factors for Respiratory and Skin Atopy: Results from Epidemiological Studies in Former East and West Germany

Ring J.a · Krämer U.c · Schäfer T.a · Abeck D.a · Vieluf D.d · Behrendt H.b-d
aDepartment of Dermatology and Allergy Biederstein, Technical University Munich and bDivision of Environmental Dermatology and Allergology/GSF/TUM, GSF Research Center for Environment and Health, Neuherberg/Technical University Munich, cMedical Institute for Environmental Hygiene, University of Düsseldorf, and dDepartment of Experimental Dermatology/Allergology, University of Hamburg, Germany

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Risk Factors for Atopy and Specific Sensitization

Published online: April 23, 1999
Issue release date: February – April

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 4

ISSN: 1018-2438 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0097 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/IAA

Abstract

The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 offered the unique opportunity to compare populations of a similar genetic and geographic background which had been living under quite different environmental exposure conditions for over 40 years. Since 1990 comparative epidemiological studies were performed between various regions in former East and West Germany with yearly questionnaires and 3 years’ physical, dermatological, allergological and exposure examination in a total of about 30,000 preschool children. There were striking differences between the various German regions with higher prevalence rates of respiratory atopy (hay fever, asthma) and atopic sensitization (prick test, RAST) in West Germany, while atopic eczema was significantly higher in East Germany (17.5 vs. 11.4% in West Germany). Total serum IgE levels were markedly higher in children in the east of Germany, similarly to the prevalence of parasitic infestation (questionnaire data as well as positive ascaris RAST). In multivariate logistic regression analysis the following factors were significantly associated with atopic eczema: animal contact (odds ratio, OR 2.9), animal furs in the bedroom (OR 2.2), use of gas without ventilation (OR 1.7) and living near road with heavy traffic (OR 1.7). Furthermore, socioeconomic factors measured as parental educational status (university vs. elementary school) were significantly associated (OR 2.3) with atopy. Respiratory tract infections and irritant responses decreased together with decreasing SO2 and suspended particulate air pollution in East Germany from 1991 to 1997. It is concluded that environmental factors from the physical, chemical, biological, and psychological environment (characteristic of a ‘modern’ or ‘western’ society) do influence the development of atopic sensitization and disease.


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Risk Factors for Atopy and Specific Sensitization

Published online: April 23, 1999
Issue release date: February – April

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 4

ISSN: 1018-2438 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0097 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/IAA


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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