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A cross-sectional analysis of pet-specific immunoglobulin E sensitization and allergic symptomatology and household pet keeping in a birth cohort population

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It is unknown whether family members with detectable specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) and/or allergic symptoms to pets are more or less likely to reside in a household with pets. We cross-sectionally investigated potential relationships between family members' allergic sensitization and symptoms to dogs and cats and current household pet-keeping practices, using birth cohort data. Blood samples taken from children enrolled in a birth cohort and their biological mothers and fathers, when the children were aged 18 years, were assessed for sIgE to dog and cat allergens. Interviews assessed subjects' self-reported pet exposure symptoms, current household pet-keeping practices, and socioeconomic characteristics. Overall, household dog or cat keeping was not associated with sIgE to these animals and/or self-reported allergic symptoms in the presence of these animals, even after controlling for factors such as education and household income. In subgroup analyses, current household dog keeping among dog-symptomatic teens (n = 40) was significantly lower than among teens who were not dog symptomatic (n = 289), at 48.8 and 61.1%, respectively (p = 0.036). Current household cat keeping was significantly lower among cat-symptomatic mothers (n = 27) compared with mothers who were not cat symptomatic (n = 120), at 24.3 and 37.0%, respectively (p = 0.015). However, when considering those who were both sensitized and reported symptoms, only the mother and cat-keeping associations persisted (p = 0.049). When cat-sensitized mothers report allergic symptoms to cats, these pets may be less likely to be kept in homes. Elevated dog and cat allergen sIgE does not appear to be associated with the keeping of these pets.
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Keywords: Allergen-specific IgE; allergic symptoms; allergy; asthma; birth cohort; cat; dog; pet keeping; rhinoconjunctivitis; selective avoidance; sensitization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Public Health Sciences, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Publication date: 01 November 2013

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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