Allergen sensitizations in southern Italy: a 5-year retrospective study in allergic respiratory patients


The assessment of the distribution of allergen skin test sensitizations is highly recommended for the optimal management of allergic respiratory conditions. We aimed at evaluating the distribution of allergen sensitizations in individuals with asthma and/or rhinitis in the Southern region of Italy, and at exploring whether changes in the frequency of allergen sensitizations occurred after a 5-year period. Demographic data and skin prick test sensitizations to allergens from asthmatics and/or rhinitis attending the Division of Respiratory Diseases, University of Palermo, Italy in 2005 (Phase 1) and in 2010 (Phase 2) were extrapolated and retained for analysis. A total of 2033 allergic respiratory patients were included (1002 in Phase 1 and 1031 in Phase 2). In both investigations, the most prevalent allergen sensitization was towards Parietaria; however, a significant reduction in the rate of prevalence after 5 years was recorded (from 60% to 48% of skin test positive patients, p<0.0001).Up to one out of two subjects showed sensitization to dust mites in both Phases.
Interestingly, Cypress pollen sensitization almost doubled from Phase 1 (17%) to Phase 2 (29%; p<0.0001).Overall, the mean number of skin test sensitizations for each patient increased from 2.7±1.6 in Phase 1 to 3.1±1.8 in Phase 2 (p<0.0001). The present findings confirm the prevalent role of Parietaria sensitization in the allergic population of the Mediterranean area of Southern Italy, and document the increase of Cypress sensitization.
These observations could contribute to a proper management of chronic allergic respiratory conditions in this region.

Table of Content: Vol. 45 (No. 3) 2013 May

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