A multicentre study assessing the prevalence of sensitizations in patients with asthma and/or rhinitis in China

J Li, B Sun, Y Huang, X Lin, D Zhao, G Tan, J Wu, H Zhao, L Cao, N Zhong et al.
Allergy 2009, 64 (7): 1083-92

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of sensitization in patients with asthma and rhinitis in mainland China remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to estimate the prevalence of allergy in patients with respiratory allergic diseases such as asthma and/or rhinitis attending respiratory clinics within mainland China. The study also investigated regional and annual differences in the prevalence and pattern of sensitization among the patients in China.

METHOD: A cross-sectional survey was performed in 6304 patients suffering from asthma and/or rhinitis in 17 cities from 4 regions of China. Patients completed a standardized questionnaire asking for the presence of respiratory and allergic symptoms. They also underwent skin prick tests with 13 common aeroallergens.

RESULTS: Among the 6304 patients, 4545 (72.1%) had at least one positive skin prick reaction. The overall prevalence of positive skin prick responses was 59.0% for Dermatophagoides farinae, 57.6% for Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, 40.7% for Blomia tropicalis, 16.1% for American cockroach, 14.0% for dog, 11.5% for Blatella germanica, 11.3% for Artemisia vulgaris, 10.3% for cat, 6.5% for Ambrosia artemisifolia, 6.3% for mixed mould I, 4.4% for mixed mould IV, 3.5% for mixed grass pollen and 2.2% for mixed tree pollen. Sensitizations to common allergens varied widely between geographical areas and demonstrated unique pattern in patients by stratification with age groups, with asthma and/or rhinitis. Severity of rhinitis and asthma was significantly correlated with skin index of reactivity to Artemisia vulgaris, Ambrosia artemisifolia and to D. pteronyssinus, D. farinae and Blomia tropicalis respectively (P < 0.001). Positive reactivity to the tested allergens and concomitant reactivity to multiple allergens including to house dust mites and Blomia tropicalis was markedly increased in patients with both asthma and rhinitis.

CONCLUSION: House dust mites were the most prevalent allergens in patients with asthma and/or rhinitis in China. There were significant differences in patterns of sensitizations in patients from different geographical areas, age groups as well as asthma and/or rhinitis.

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