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Keywords:

  • aerobiology;
  • asthma;
  • Greece;
  • pollen allergy;
  • respiratory allergy;
  • skin prick tests

Background:  Very limited allergenic pollen records exist in Greece so far; moreover, there is a lack of investigation on patient sensitization. The above data are necessary for respiratory allergy diagnosis and treatment worldwide.

Methodology:  Daily records and identification of 16 airborne pollen species were made using a Burkard trap (1987–2001). Skin sensitivity to 13 most common pollen extracts was investigated, in a sample of 1311 asthmatics with atopy, admitted to the Out-Patient Clinic for Asthma (1990–2001). Skin sensitivity to 55 allergens, including 13 pollen extracts, was detected by skin prick test.

Results:  The following pollen concentrations were recorded: cypress (24.9% of the total), oak (20.8%), wall pellitory (13.6%), olive (9.1%), pine (8.9%), grasses (6.3%), plane (5.4%), hazel (3%), goosefoot (2.5%) and poplar (1.4%). The respective percentages of birch, ragweed, mugwort, willow, alder and elm were lower than 1%. The highest counts of airborne pollen grains were detected from March to June. Regarding patient sensitization, sensitivity was detected to: grasses in 530 patients (40.4%), olive 417 (31.8%), goosefoot 240 (18.3%), wall pellitory 201 (15.3%), mugwort 198 (15.1%), plantain 194 (14.6%), cypress 166 (12.7%), hazel 126 (9.6%), pine 122 (9.3%), poplar 111 (8.4%), plane 107 (8,2%), oak 99 (7.6%) and to birch 89 patients (6.8%). The sensitivity to pollen grains displays preponderance (57.9%) to males.

Conclusions:  For the first time in Thessaloniki, Greece, 15-year allergenic pollen records were conducted. Clinical observations confirm that the pollen mainly implicated in respiratory allergy symptoms are grasses, olive and wall pellitory.