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Prevalence and diversity of allergic rhinitis in regions of the world beyond Europe and North America



Richard Walters,


Asia Pacific, Japan & Emerging Markets,

Medical Affairs, GSK House, 980 Great West Road,

Brentford, TW8 9GS, UK.




There is comparatively little information in the public domain on the diversity in prevalence and triggers/factors associated with allergic rhinitis (AR) or allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (AR/C) in countries beyond western-Europe and North America.


To review the prevalence and the sensitizing agents/triggers and factors associated with AR/C in several countries in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Turkey.


Articles published in English in peer-reviewed journals were assessed and selected for further review, following an extensive literature search using the Medline database.


This review demonstrated that prevalence of AR and AR/C in these regions has predominantly been investigated in children; with studies indicating wide inter- and intra-regional variations ranging from 2.9% AR and 3.8% AR/C in 10–18-years-old children from one region in Turkey to 54.1% AR and 39.2% AR/C in 13–14-years-old children in one region in Nigeria. Moreover, the prevalence of AR and AR/C has increased markedly over the last decade particularly in some of the more affluent African countries, China-Taiwan and several Middle East countries, likely as a consequence of improved living standards leading to increased exposure to multiple traditional and non-traditional sensitizing agents and risk factors similar to those noted in western-Europe and North America.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Our findings suggest that the greater diversity in prevalence of AR or AR/C in populations in these regions is in contrast to the lower diversity of AR or AR/C in the ‘western populations (USA and Europe), which tend to be more uniform. This review provides a comprehensive database of the important allergens and triggers which are likely to influence the prevalence of allergic rhinitis in these diverse regions, where the prevalence of allergic rhinitis is increasing and its adverse impact on the quality of life of affected individuals is increasingly recognised.

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