The prevalance of positive specific IgE antibodies to house dust mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus: D. farinae) was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 5097 (61%) volunteers of 8345 schoolchildren aged between 7 and 14 yr from two government schools, All of them filled out a questionnaire concerning allergic symptoms. Among them, 412 (8·1%) children showed a positive reaction to at least one of the two mite allergens, the range varying between 5·6 and 11·2% according to the child's age. Boys had higher prevalence of positive mite specific IgE than girls (9·8% vs. 6·4%, P < 0·01), with the overall male to female ratio 1·5:1. The prevalence of bronchial asthma in boys and girls was 5·3% and 3·3% respectively. The positive mite specific IgE antibody in children with asthma and allergic rhinitis was 52% (103 of 198) and 28·7% (193 of 673) respectively. The mean levels of mite specific IgE were not significantly related to the age of onset and severity of asthmatic symptoms (P > 0·1), but were significantly different among subjects with current and past asthma (P < 0·001). It is suggested that the mire-specific IgE may play a role in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma in children.
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