Cockroach sensitivity in Norway: a previously unidentified problem?

Authors

  • K. C Lødrup Carlsen,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Woman Child Clinic, Ullevål University Hospital;
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  • K. H. Carlsen,

    1. Voksentoppen National Center for Children With Asthma, Allergy and Chronic Lung Diseases;
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  • M. S. Buchmann,

    1. First Medical Laboratory, Oslo; National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
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  • J. Wikstrøm,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Woman Child Clinic, Ullevål University Hospital;
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  • R. Mehl,

    1. First Medical Laboratory, Oslo; National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
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  • GAIN

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    • *The GAIN study (Genetics of Asthma International Network) study team from Europe, USA and Australia consists of principal investigators: P. Helms, Aberdeen UK; W. Lenney, Stoke on Trent UK; J. Gerritsen, Groningen, Netherlands; M. Whyte, Sheffield UK; M. Silverman, Leicester UK; J. Tsanakas, Thessalonika Greece; P. Sly, Perth Australia; J. Sunday, Durham USA; K. Barnes, Baltimore USA; A. Von Berg, Wesel Germany.


Karin C. Lødrup Carlsen
Department of Paediatrics
Woman Child Clinic
N-0407 Oslo
Norway

Abstract

Background: Little is known about cockroach sensitization in Scandinavia, whereas cockroaches are implicated in allergic diseases throughout large parts of the world. In association with the Genetics of Asthma International Network (GAIN) study, we report sensitization to cockroaches and possible association with IgE-mediated diseases in Norway.

Methods: 100 Norwegian families (426 subjects) of 7–35-year-old sibling-pairs with asthma and their parents underwent questionnaire/interview (medical and exposure history), skin prick test (SPT) to common local inhalant allergens and German cockroach, and IgE specific to mites, mosquito, shrimp and cockroach. Cockroach sensitization was defined as positive if there was a positive (≥ 3 mm) skin prick test and/or presence of IgE antibody of class 2 or more.

Results: Thirty-one subjects (7.5%) were sensitized (five monosensitized) to cockroach (27 by skin prick test and seven by IgE antibody, all with additional inhalant allergy). Co-sensitization was most common to grass (in 61%), cat (48%), dog (48%) and mites (42%). Reported allergic diseases in cockroach-sensitized subjects were asthma and rhinitis (n = 10), asthma only (n = 9), rhinitis only (n = 2) and neither asthma nor rhinitis (n = 10).

Conclusions: Since cockroach sensitization was relatively frequent in Norwegian atopic families, albeit with unclear clinical implications, we suggest that cockroach allergy should be considered in atopic subjects with respiratory disease.

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