Document Detail

Onset of allergy and asthma symptoms in extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy: possible role of environmental factors.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12680859     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Allergy and asthma are typical disorders of the affluent societies. Migrants from developing to industrialized countries seem to be at increased risk of allergy and asthma development. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate time of onset, spectrum of sensitization and clinical features in a population of extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy, complaining of allergy and asthma symptoms. METHODS: Data regarding 243 extra-European immigrants checked at an allergy clinic from 1994 to 2000 were collected retrospectively. The demographic data were compared with those of the extra-European immigrants living in Milan at the end of 1999. RESULTS: The patients were complaining of asthma (63.7%), rhinoconjunctivitis (56.7%), rhinitis alone (21%) or urticaria (3%). One hundred and eighty-seven out of 222 patients (84.3%) declared they were healthy before migrating and allergy/asthma symptoms started to appear after their arrival in Italy, namely after an average period of 4 years and 7 months. The proportion of male patients was lower than the proportion of men in the extra-European immigrant population (48% vs. 55%), suggesting that in adult immigrants allergy and asthma are more common in women than in men. Furthermore, there was an over-representation of Central-South Americans attending the clinic, which seemed to be due to a genetic predisposition to allergy/asthma development. When data were analysed for single countries, a trend towards an increased risk of allergy and asthma was found in immigrants from all Central-South American countries. A skin test positivity for at least one inhalant allergen was found in 196 out of 232 patients (81%), and the spectrum of allergic sensitization was similar to that of the Italian population living in the North of Italy. CONCLUSION: Most extra-European immigrants declared that they were healthy at home and that allergy and asthma symptoms had appeared after immigration to Milan; lifestyle and environmental factors in a western industrialized city seem indeed to facilitate allergy/asthma onset in immigrants from developing countries. Allergy/asthma risk seems to be different in different ethnic groups.
A Tedeschi; M Barcella; G A Dal Bo; A Miadonna
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology     Volume:  33     ISSN:  0954-7894     ISO Abbreviation:  Clin. Exp. Allergy     Publication Date:  2003 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-04-08     Completed Date:  2003-07-21     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8906443     Medline TA:  Clin Exp Allergy     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  449-54     Citation Subset:  IM    
First Division of Internal Medicine, IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Asthma / ethnology,  etiology
Central America / ethnology
Chi-Square Distribution
Emigration and Immigration*
Ethnic Groups*
Genetic Predisposition to Disease
Hypersensitivity / ethnology,  etiology*
Retrospective Studies
South America / ethnology
Time Factors

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