Species of the genus Parietaria (pellitory) are a prevalent cause of allergy in the Mediterranean area and the most important in some European regions such as southern Italy and coastal Spain (14, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 36, 59, 69). Up to now, however, Parietaria has received little attention in northern Europe and the US because of its limited regional distribution. Therefore, less is known about Parietaria allergy than about other inhalant allergens such as those of grasses, ragweed, and mites.
During the last 5 years, only 31 reports on Parietaria allergy have appeared in the literature, as compared with 37 papers on birch pollen. This ratio may appear unbalanced, considering that millions of people suffer from pollinosis caused by Parietaria, while a much smaller number have rhinitis and/or asthma caused by birch pollen.
The increasing movement of people throughout Europe and to and from the US is reason to broaden our knowledge of patterns of inhalant allergy in each geographic area, especially where tourism and immigration are high.
This paper briefly reviews available data and personal studies on the botanical, aerobiological, immunochemical, and clinical features of Parietaria allergy.