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Allergen Triggers Similar in Urban Hispanic, Black Children

Environmental factors, rather than ethnicity, affect rates of allergen sensitization, findings suggest

FRIDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Urban-dwelling Hispanic children with asthma have similar allergen sensitivities as asthmatic children who are black and live in the same neighborhoods, researchers report in the November issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Deepa Rastogi, M.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues reviewed the medical records of children attending a community hospital in the South Bronx to examine patterns of allergen sensitization in 384 Hispanic and black children with asthma.

The investigators found that all children were more likely to be sensitized to indoor than outdoor allergens (58.6 versus 28.4 percent). Indoor, but not outdoor, allergens were associated with asthma severity in both groups. Sensitivity rates to cockroach, dust mite, mouse and mold allergens were similar in the two groups, though black children were more likely to have a tree allergen sensitivity than Hispanic children.

The results suggest that environmental exposure rather than ethnicity is the main culprit affecting asthma rates in inner-city children. "With the increasing prevalence of asthma among inner-city Hispanic children, skin testing should be used frequently for objective evaluation of asthma in this ethnic group," the authors conclude.

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