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      Asthma, Airway Symptoms and Rhinitis in Office Workers in Malaysia: Associations with House Dust Mite (HDM) Allergy, Cat Allergy and Levels of House Dust Mite Allergens in Office Dust

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          A prevalence study was conducted among office workers in Malaysia (N= 695). The aim of this study was to examine associations between asthma, airway symptoms, rhinitis and house dust mites (HDM) and cat allergy and HDM levels in office dust. Medical data was collected by a questionnaire. Skin prick tests were performed for HDM allergens ( Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, Dermatophagoides farinae) and cat allergen Felis domesticus. Indoor temperature and relative air humidity (RH) were measured in the offices and vacuumed dust samples were analyzed for HDM allergens. The prevalence of D. pteronyssinus, D. farinae and cat allergy were 50.3%, 49.0% and 25.5% respectively. Totally 9.6% had doctor-diagnosed asthma, 15.5% had current wheeze and 53.0% had current rhinitis. The Der p 1 (from D. pteronyssinus) and Der f 1 (from D. farinae) allergens levels in dust were 556 ng/g and 658 ng/g respectively. Statistical analysis was conducted by multilevel logistic regression, adjusting for age, gender, current smoking, HDM or cat allergy, home dampness and recent indoor painting at home. Office workers with HDM allergy had more wheeze (p= 0.035), any airway symptoms (p= 0.032), doctor-diagnosed asthma (p= 0.005), current asthma (p= 0.007), current rhinitis (p= 0.021) and rhinoconjuctivitis (p< 0.001). Cat allergy was associated with wheeze (p= 0.021), wheeze when not having a cold (p= 0.033), any airway symptoms (p= 0.034), doctor-diagnosed asthma (p= 0.010), current asthma (p= 0.020) and nasal allergy medication (p= 0.042). Der f 1 level in dust was associated with daytime breathlessness (p= 0.033) especially among those with HDM allergy. Der f 1 levels were correlated with indoor temperature (p< 0.001) and inversely correlated with RH (p< 0.001). In conclusion, HDM and cat allergies were common and independently associated with asthma, airway symptoms and rhinitis. Der f 1 allergen can be a risk factor for daytime breathlessness.

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          International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC): rationale and methods.

          The aetiology of asthma and allergic disease remains poorly understood, despite considerable research. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), was founded to maximize the value of epidemiological research into asthma and allergic disease, by establishing a standardized methodology and facilitating international collaboration. Its specific aims are: 1) to describe the prevalence and severity of asthma, rhinitis and eczema in children living in different centres, and to make comparisons within and between countries; 2) to obtain baseline measures for assessment of future trends in the prevalence and severity of these diseases; and 3) to provide a framework for further aetiological research into genetic, lifestyle, environmental, and medical care factors affecting these diseases. The ISAAC design comprises three phases. Phase 1 uses core questionnaires designed to assess the prevalence and severity of asthma and allergic disease in defined populations. Phase 2 will investigate possible aetiological factors, particularly those suggested by the findings of Phase 1. Phase 3 will be a repetition of Phase 1 to assess trends in prevalence.
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            Early-life respiratory viral infections, atopic sensitization, and risk of subsequent development of persistent asthma

            Background Severe lower respiratory infections (LRIs) and atopic sensitization have been identified as independent risk factors for asthma. Objective The nature of potential interactions between these risk factors was the subject of this study. Methods A community-based cohort of 198 children at high atopic risk was followed from birth to 5 years. All episodes of acute respiratory illness in the first year were recorded and postnasal aspirates were collected for viral identification. History of wheeze and asthma was collected annually, and atopy was assessed at 6 months, 2 years, and 5 years. Results A total of 815 episodes of acute respiratory illness were reported, and 33% were LRIs. Viruses were detected in 69% of aspirates, most commonly rhinoviruses (48.3%) and respiratory syncytial virus (10.9%). At 5 years, 28.3%(n = 56) had current wheeze, and this was associated with wheezy [odds ratio (OR), 3.4 (1.2-9.7); P = .02] and/or febrile LRI [OR, 3.9 (1.4-10.5); P = .007], in particular those caused by respiratory syncytial virus or rhinoviruses [OR, 4.1 (1.3-12.6); P = .02]. Comparable findings were made for current asthma. Strikingly these associations were restricted to children who displayed early sensitization (≤2 years old) and not observed in nonatopic patients or those sensitized later. Conclusion These data suggest viral infections interact with atopy in infancy to promote later asthma. Notably the occurrence of both of these events during this narrow developmental window is associated with maximal risk for subsequent asthma, which suggests a contribution from both classes of inflammatory insults to disease pathogenesis. Clinical implications Protection of “high-risk” children against the effects of severe respiratory infections during infancy may represent an effective strategy for primary asthma prevention. The potential benefits of these strategies merit more careful evaluation in this age group.
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              Worldwide time trends for symptoms of rhinitis and conjunctivitis: Phase III of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood.

              In Phase III of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) time trends in the prevalence of rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms were analysed. Cross-sectional questionnaire surveys with identical protocols and questionnaires were completed a mean of 7 yr apart in two age groups comprising 498,083 children. In the 13- to 14-yr age group 106 centres in 56 countries participated, and in the 6- to 7-yr age group 66 centres in 37 countries participated. A slight worldwide increase in rhinoconjunctivitis prevalence was observed, but the variations were large among the centres and there was no consistent regional pattern. Prevalence increases in the older children exceeding 1% per year were recorded in 13 centres, including 3 of 9 centres in Africa, 2 of 15 in Asia-Pacific, 1 of 8 in India, 3 of 15 in Latin America, 3 of 9 in Eastern Europe and 1 of 34 in Western and Northern Europe. Decreasing rhinoconjunctivititis prevalence of similar magnitude was only seen in four centres. The changes were less pronounced in the 6- to 7-yr-old children and only in one centre did any change exceed 1% per year. The decrease in highest prevalence rates in ISAAC Phase I suggests that the prevalence has peaked in those regions. An increase was recorded in several centres, mostly in low and mid-income countries. The increases were more pronounced in the older age group, suggesting that environmental influences on the development of allergy may not be limited to early childhood.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                29 April 2015
                : 10
                : 4
                [1 ]Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
                [2 ]Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
                [3 ]Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
                [4 ]United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
                [5 ]Department of Community Health, National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
                [6 ]Uppsala University, Department of Medical Science, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden
                Peking University, CHINA
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: FLL ZH DN SMS JHH. Performed the experiments: FLL ZH DN LTLT. Analyzed the data: FLL DN SMS. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: ZH DN LTLT JHH. Wrote the paper: FLL DN ZH.


                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 6, Pages: 21
                This study was supported by grants from the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for Research University Grant Scheme (RUGS, grant number: 9199671) and the Swedish Research Council (VR) (grant number: 2013-6762). The funders supported the project financially. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of manuscript.
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