Onset of allergy and asthma symptoms in extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy: Possible role of environmental factors

A. Tedeschi, M. Barcella, G. A. Dal Bo, Antonio Miadonna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Allergy and asthma are typical disorders of the affluent societies. Migrants from developing to industrialized countries seem to be at increased risk of allergy and asthma development. Objective: To evaluate time of onset, spectrum of sensitization and clinical features in a population of extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy, complaining of allergy and asthma symptoms. Methods: Data regarding 243 extra-European immigrants checked at an allergy clinic from 1994 to 2000 were collected retrospectively. The demographic data were compared with those of the extra-European immigrants living in Milan at the end of 1999. Results: The patients were complaining of asthma (63.7%), rhinoconjunctivitis (56.7%), rhinitis alone (21%) or urticaria (3%). One hundred and eighty-seven out of 222 patients (84.3%) declared they were healthy before migrating and allergy/asthma symptoms started to appear after their arrival in Italy, namely after an average period of 4 years and 7 months. The proportion of male patients was lower than the proportion of men in the extra-European immigrant population (48% vs. 55%), suggesting that in adult immigrants allergy and asthma are more common in women than in men. Furthermore, there was an over-representation of Central-South Americans attending the clinic, which seemed to be due to a genetic predisposition to allergy/asthma development. When data were analysed for single countries, a trend towards an increased risk of allergy and asthma was found in immigrants from all Central-South American countries. A skin test positivity for at least one inhalant allergen was found in 196 out of 232 patients (81%), and the spectrum of allergic sensitization was similar to that of the Italian population living in the North of Italy. Conclusion: Most extra-European immigrants declared that they were healthy at home and that allergy and asthma symptoms had appeared after immigration to Milan; lifestyle and environmental factors in a western industrialized city seem indeed to facilitate allergy/asthma onset in immigrants from developing countries. Allergy/asthma risk seems to be different in different ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2003

Fingerprint

Italy
Hypersensitivity
Asthma
Population
Emigration and Immigration
Urticaria
Genetic Predisposition to Disease
Rhinitis
Skin Tests
Ethnic Groups
Developed Countries
Allergens
Developing Countries
Life Style
Demography

Keywords

  • Allergy
  • Asthma
  • Extra-European immigrants
  • Industrialized countries
  • Milan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this

Onset of allergy and asthma symptoms in extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy : Possible role of environmental factors. / Tedeschi, A.; Barcella, M.; Dal Bo, G. A.; Miadonna, Antonio.

In: Clinical and Experimental Allergy, Vol. 33, No. 4, 01.04.2003, p. 449-454.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tedeschi, A. ; Barcella, M. ; Dal Bo, G. A. ; Miadonna, Antonio. / Onset of allergy and asthma symptoms in extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy : Possible role of environmental factors. In: Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2003 ; Vol. 33, No. 4. pp. 449-454.
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abstract = "Background: Allergy and asthma are typical disorders of the affluent societies. Migrants from developing to industrialized countries seem to be at increased risk of allergy and asthma development. Objective: To evaluate time of onset, spectrum of sensitization and clinical features in a population of extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy, complaining of allergy and asthma symptoms. Methods: Data regarding 243 extra-European immigrants checked at an allergy clinic from 1994 to 2000 were collected retrospectively. The demographic data were compared with those of the extra-European immigrants living in Milan at the end of 1999. Results: The patients were complaining of asthma (63.7{\%}), rhinoconjunctivitis (56.7{\%}), rhinitis alone (21{\%}) or urticaria (3{\%}). One hundred and eighty-seven out of 222 patients (84.3{\%}) declared they were healthy before migrating and allergy/asthma symptoms started to appear after their arrival in Italy, namely after an average period of 4 years and 7 months. The proportion of male patients was lower than the proportion of men in the extra-European immigrant population (48{\%} vs. 55{\%}), suggesting that in adult immigrants allergy and asthma are more common in women than in men. Furthermore, there was an over-representation of Central-South Americans attending the clinic, which seemed to be due to a genetic predisposition to allergy/asthma development. When data were analysed for single countries, a trend towards an increased risk of allergy and asthma was found in immigrants from all Central-South American countries. A skin test positivity for at least one inhalant allergen was found in 196 out of 232 patients (81{\%}), and the spectrum of allergic sensitization was similar to that of the Italian population living in the North of Italy. Conclusion: Most extra-European immigrants declared that they were healthy at home and that allergy and asthma symptoms had appeared after immigration to Milan; lifestyle and environmental factors in a western industrialized city seem indeed to facilitate allergy/asthma onset in immigrants from developing countries. Allergy/asthma risk seems to be different in different ethnic groups.",
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N2 - Background: Allergy and asthma are typical disorders of the affluent societies. Migrants from developing to industrialized countries seem to be at increased risk of allergy and asthma development. Objective: To evaluate time of onset, spectrum of sensitization and clinical features in a population of extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy, complaining of allergy and asthma symptoms. Methods: Data regarding 243 extra-European immigrants checked at an allergy clinic from 1994 to 2000 were collected retrospectively. The demographic data were compared with those of the extra-European immigrants living in Milan at the end of 1999. Results: The patients were complaining of asthma (63.7%), rhinoconjunctivitis (56.7%), rhinitis alone (21%) or urticaria (3%). One hundred and eighty-seven out of 222 patients (84.3%) declared they were healthy before migrating and allergy/asthma symptoms started to appear after their arrival in Italy, namely after an average period of 4 years and 7 months. The proportion of male patients was lower than the proportion of men in the extra-European immigrant population (48% vs. 55%), suggesting that in adult immigrants allergy and asthma are more common in women than in men. Furthermore, there was an over-representation of Central-South Americans attending the clinic, which seemed to be due to a genetic predisposition to allergy/asthma development. When data were analysed for single countries, a trend towards an increased risk of allergy and asthma was found in immigrants from all Central-South American countries. A skin test positivity for at least one inhalant allergen was found in 196 out of 232 patients (81%), and the spectrum of allergic sensitization was similar to that of the Italian population living in the North of Italy. Conclusion: Most extra-European immigrants declared that they were healthy at home and that allergy and asthma symptoms had appeared after immigration to Milan; lifestyle and environmental factors in a western industrialized city seem indeed to facilitate allergy/asthma onset in immigrants from developing countries. Allergy/asthma risk seems to be different in different ethnic groups.

AB - Background: Allergy and asthma are typical disorders of the affluent societies. Migrants from developing to industrialized countries seem to be at increased risk of allergy and asthma development. Objective: To evaluate time of onset, spectrum of sensitization and clinical features in a population of extra-European immigrants to Milan, Italy, complaining of allergy and asthma symptoms. Methods: Data regarding 243 extra-European immigrants checked at an allergy clinic from 1994 to 2000 were collected retrospectively. The demographic data were compared with those of the extra-European immigrants living in Milan at the end of 1999. Results: The patients were complaining of asthma (63.7%), rhinoconjunctivitis (56.7%), rhinitis alone (21%) or urticaria (3%). One hundred and eighty-seven out of 222 patients (84.3%) declared they were healthy before migrating and allergy/asthma symptoms started to appear after their arrival in Italy, namely after an average period of 4 years and 7 months. The proportion of male patients was lower than the proportion of men in the extra-European immigrant population (48% vs. 55%), suggesting that in adult immigrants allergy and asthma are more common in women than in men. Furthermore, there was an over-representation of Central-South Americans attending the clinic, which seemed to be due to a genetic predisposition to allergy/asthma development. When data were analysed for single countries, a trend towards an increased risk of allergy and asthma was found in immigrants from all Central-South American countries. A skin test positivity for at least one inhalant allergen was found in 196 out of 232 patients (81%), and the spectrum of allergic sensitization was similar to that of the Italian population living in the North of Italy. Conclusion: Most extra-European immigrants declared that they were healthy at home and that allergy and asthma symptoms had appeared after immigration to Milan; lifestyle and environmental factors in a western industrialized city seem indeed to facilitate allergy/asthma onset in immigrants from developing countries. Allergy/asthma risk seems to be different in different ethnic groups.

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