American Journal of Clinical Medicine Research. 2014, 2(3), 61-67DOI:
Abstract: Background: Many studies worldwide have reported prevalence of atopic sensitization and its international variations. A positive skin prick reaction, however, does not always correlate with clinical symptoms. Positive skin tests (SPT) reveal rather atopy - specific IgE presence, than an atopic disease itself. When combined clinical manifestation and SPT are a powerful instrument for defining allergic diseases. Such data for Bulgaria are, however, scarce. The objective of the present study is to assess prevalence patterns and clinical relevance of sensitization to environmental and food allergens in a cross-sectional community sample in Bulgaria. Methodology and results: Patients, 225 men and women, age 4-81 years, were included. They completed a questionnaire to define asthma and rhinitis. Patients were skin prick tested to 18 commercial inhalant and food allergen extracts. The clinical relevance of each of the positively tested allergens was assessed. Among 225 patients 129 (57.3%) were sensitized to at least one allergen, using cut-off level ≥3 mm. In the inhalant allergens group the highest were rates of sensitization to 12 grasses – 26.6% and 4 cereals – 24.0%, followed by these to DFR – 18.2%, DPT – 17.8% and cockroach -16.4%. Among food allergens the highest rates of sensitizations were found to pork – 16.9%, walnut – 15.1%, apple – 13.3%, egg whole – 10.7%, celery – 9.8% and milk – 9.3%. The highest proportions of relevant tests in the inhalant allergens group were for DPT - 72.2%, DFR - 62.9%, 4 cereals - 69.2%, 12 grasses - 69%, Penicillium mix – 61.9, cockroach - 54.8%, Betulaceae - 52.4%. Among food allergens the highest proportions of relevant sensitization were found for walnut – 32.3%, peanut 29.4%, Milk - 22.2%, egg whole - 21.1%. Conclusions: We found rates and patterns of sensitization which were in line with data from other studies. The percentage of clinically relevant sensitizations differed significantly depending on the allergen.