The skin prick test (SPT) is a commonly used procedure for assessing a specific sensitization. The longitudinal variability of test results is of interest for clinical as well as epidemiological investigations. The sensitization to four common aeroallergens (grass pollen, birch pollen, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, cat dander) is investigated within the framework of three consecutive SPTs at 11-month intervals for a population of 587 schoolchildren. The prevalence of sensitization based on a weal diameter of at least 2 mm was between 12.9% (cat dander) and 23.9% (grass pollen) in the initial testing. The positive predictive values of the initial SPT were between 75.3% (birch pollen) and 88.2% (cat dander) for the two subsequent SPTs. In the case of initially negative tests with positive second and third SPTs the incidence ranged between 3.2% (cat dander) and 4.3% (birch pollen) per year. A clear increase in the intensity of reaction in subsequent tests was observed in a number of probands testing positively in the initial SPT. In conclusion, our data indicate a high long-term stability of a specific sensitization to aeroallergens in SPT.
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