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Keywords:

  • allergens;
  • Cyprus;
  • endotoxin;
  • exposure;
  • sensitization

We investigated the relationship between domestic allergen and endotoxin exposure and allergic sensitization among children in Cyprus. We skin prick tested 128 children aged 15–16 yr (random samples of 85 children with self-reported asthma and 43 healthy controls) and measured their domestic exposure to endotoxin and allergens (mite, cat, and dog). We analyzed the data using multivariate logistic regression (adjusting for gender, area of residence and parental history) and presented the outcomes as odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Among this selected population, 19% of children were sensitized to mite, 15% to cat and 7% to dog. Male gender (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.18–6.38, p = 0.02), maternal history of allergic disease (OR 3.53, 95% CI 1.13–11.00, p = 0.03), increasing endotoxin (OR 1.58, 95% CI 1.00–2.49, p = 0.05) and residence in the district of Nicosia (OR 2.48, 95% CI 1.01–6.08, p = 0.05) were independent associates of allergic sensitization. Factors associated with mite sensitization were increasing Der p 1 and endotoxin exposure (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.01–1.62, p = 0.04 and OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.01–3.08, p = 0.05, respectively) and living in an urban area (OR 6.80, 95% CI 1.37–33.67, p = 0.02). Sensitization to domestic pets was associated only with paternal allergic disease (cat: OR 5.68, 95% CI 1.57–23.56, p = 0.02; dog: OR 13.5, 95% CI 1.79–101.73, p = 0.01), but not with pet ownership or specific allergen or endotoxin exposure. In conclusion, mite allergen exposure was associated with sensitization to mite, but there was no association between cat and dog allergen exposure and specific sensitizations. Surprisingly, in this area, increasing endotoxin exposure was associated with an increased risk of sensitization.