Background Recent investigations have demonstrated that spider mites are important allergens in the development of asthma in fruit-cultivating farmers.
Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the sensitization rate to the citrus red mite (Panonychus citri) in children living in rural areas, and to determine the allergenic cross-reactivity with other mites.
Methods A total of 7254 children (ages 7–15 years) living in rural areas were enrolled, and each subject was evaluated by a questionnaire and a skin prick test. Allergenic cross-reactivity was evaluated by ELISA inhibition tests.
Results The most common sensitizing allergens were house dust mites, followed by citrus red mite and cockroach. High serum-specific IgE bindings to the citrus red mite were detected in 21 of 100 randomly selected subjects. The prevalence of asthma was higher among those with positive skin responses to the citrus red mite than with negative skin responses to this mite. ELISA inhibition tests showed that IgE bindings to this mite were minimally inhibited with additions of domestic mites.
Conclusion Spider mites such as the citrus red mite may be important outdoor allergens among children living in rural areas, and spider mite-derived allergens have unique allergenic determinants compared with domestic mites.