Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Background: Early exposure to high quantities of allergen has an important role in the incidence of atopic sensitization. In fact, subjects sensitized to house dust mites (HDMs) have a significantly higher proportion of births in the season when HDMs are most abundant.Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether birth month patterns differ for asthmatic patients sensitized only to HDMs and for those sensitized to HDMs and other allergen(s).Methods: Among 2225 patients with asthma, aged 10–16 years, 1642 sensitized to HDMs were identified by skin prick testing. This group was composed of patients sensitized only to HDMs (n = 715) and patients sensitized to HDMs and other allergen(s) (n = 927). The birth month distributions of the group of HDM-sensitive asthmatics or its subgroups were compared with that of a reference population (total live births in the same years as the studied subjects). The risk ratio of a given birth month in relation to all the other months was calculated as an odds ratio (OR) with the corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).Results: A significant difference in birth month distribution was observed for HDM-sensitive asthmatics (χ2 = 23.6, P = 0.015), with higher rates of birth in August (OR: 1.23, 95% CI: 1.04–1.46) and September (1.24, 1.04–1.46). When the two subgroups were analyzed separately, significantly more births were noted in August (1.34, 1.06–1.71) and September (1.34, 1.05–1.70) for those sensitized only to HDMs, whereas no such birth month preference was observed for those sensitized to HDMs and other allergen(s).Conclusions: The HDM-positive asthmatics showed a greater proportion of births in August and September, which correspond to high HDM exposure. However, this birth month pattern was evident in asthmatic-sensitive only to HDMs, but was not observed in those sensitive to HDMs and other allergen(s).
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