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The seasonal symptoms of hyposensitized and untreated hay fever patients in relation to birch pollen counts: correlations with nasal sensitivity, prick tests and RAST

Authors

  • M. VIANDER,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Medical Microbiology and Pediatrics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
      Dr Markku Viander, Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Turku, SF-20520 Turku 52, Finland.
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  • A. KOIVIKKO

    1. Departments of Medical Microbiology and Pediatrics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
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Dr Markku Viander, Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Turku, SF-20520 Turku 52, Finland.

Summary

A 2 year prospective study of thirty-eight birch pollen-sensitive hay fever patients under specific immunotherapy and of nineteen untreated control patients showed a significant correlation between the total seasonal symptom scores of the patients and their clinical sensitivities assessed by the RAST and a graded nasal test. The agreement between a positive nasal test and a positive RAST was 74%. In the early season with low pollen counts the onset of symptoms was significantly associated with high sensitivity of the patients, while many patients showed symptoms in the late season irrespective of their nasal and RAST sensitivity. About 90% of both the treated and the untreated patients reported mild symptoms when the pollen count exceeded 80/m3 in the early season. 80% of them still had symptoms when the count was below 30/m3 in the late pollen season. Although hyposensitization therapy had no effect on the occurrence of the mild symptoms, the treated patients had severe symptoms significantly less often than the untreated ones on days with high pollen counts.

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