Pet Allergy: How Important for Turkey Where There Is a Low Pet Ownership Rate
Exposure and sensitization to allergens derived from cats/dogs have been shown to represent an important risk factor for allergic respiratory diseases. So far, there has not been any study exploring cat/dog sensitization and related factors in our geographic location. The aim of this study was to determine the sensitization to cats/dogs in a group of patients with rhinitis and/or asthma and to evaluate the relationship between current and childhood exposure and sensitivity to pets. Three hundred twelve consecutive subjects with asthma and/or rhinitis were included in the study and were asked to reply a questionnaire concerning past and current pet ownership and presence of pet-related respiratory symptoms. After performing skin-prick tests, subjects were allocated into three groups: group 1(n = 103), subjects with nonatopic asthma; group 2 (n = 54), allergic rhinitis and/or asthma patients with pet allergy; group 3 (n = 155), allergic rhinitis and/or asthma patients without pet allergy. Pet hypersensitivity was detected in 54 of 209 atopic subjects (25.8%). There was no difference in the rates of past pet ownership among subjects with (29.6%) and without (23.8%) pet allergy. However, the ratio of current pet ownership was higher in atopic patients with pet allergy (16.6%) than in nonatopic subjects (2.9%; p = 0.02). The prevalence of sensitization to pets in current owners (42.8%) was higher than prevalence of sensitization in patients who never had a pet (22.6%; p = 0.002; odds ratio, 2.67) and who owned a pet at childhood (28.2%; p = 0.038; odds ratio, 1.9). Thirteen subjects (13/54; 24%) described respiratory symptoms when exposed to cats and/or dogs. Rate of past pet ownership was similar in symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects with pet allergy (30.7% versus 29.2%; p > 0.05). Rate of current pet ownership was higher in symptomatic subjects than in asymptomatic subjects with pet sensitivity (38.4% versus 9.5%; p < 0.0001). Our data indicate that pet allergens have the potential to become an important source of indoor allergens in our population. Our findings also suggest that current pet ownership—but not childhood pet keeping—seems to be a risk for the development of sensitization to pets.
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Document Type: Original Article
Publication date: 2003-03-01
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