An epidemiological survey on the allergological importance of some emerging pollens in Italy

R. Corsico, P. Falagiani, R. Ariano, D. Berra, C. Biale, F. Bonifazi, P. Campi, V. Feliziani, G. Frenguelli, M. Galimberti, M. T. Gallesio, G. Liccardi, A. Loreti, G. Marcer, F. Marcucci, A. Meriggi, M. Minelli, R. Nardelli, G. Nardi, C. A. NegriniG. Papa, G. Piu, M. Pozzan, F. Purello D'Ambrosio, G. Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epidemiological studies on the pollens responsible for allergic diseases throughout Italy are lacking. Routine diagnostic panels consist prevalently of grass, Parietaria, weeds, birch, olive and mugwort. Considering the great variety of Italian geographical areas and the observation of the growing allergological importance of new botanical species (e.g., ambrosia), a survey on pollen species considered 'minor' was necessary. A panel of 'emerging' pollens (birch, hazelnut, alder, hornbeam, cypress, ragweed) and a routine panel were used to skin prick test 2934 consecutive outpatients with respiratory pathology of suspected allergic origin, in 21 centers across Italy. A specific questionnaire was compiled. It was found that 20.1% of patients did not react to allergens tested, 28.2% were positive for at least one emerging pollen and 51.7% did not react to emerging pollens but tested positive for at least one allergen from the routine panel. The prevalence of single pollen species was related to geographical areas. Ragweed pollen was shown to provoke asthma much more frequently than other pollens. Hitherto scarcely considered pollens play a considerable role in causing allergic diseases in Italy. In the great majority of patients, positivity for these pollens was associated with positivity to the better recognized group of pollen allergens, although in some cases they were the primary pathogenic agent. We suggest that these more recently considered allergens be included in routine diagnostic panels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of investigational allergology & clinical immunology : official organ of the International Association of Asthmology (INTERASMA) and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Alergia e Inmunología
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2000


  • Allergy
  • Emerging pollen
  • Epidemiological survey
  • Geoclimatic zone
  • Pollen
  • Questionnaire
  • Skin test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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