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Exposure to farming in early life and development of asthma and allergy: a cross-sectional survey

Riedler, J. and Braun-Fahrländer, C. and Eder, W. and Schreuer, M. and Waser, M. and Maisch, S. and Carr, D. and Schierl, R. and Nowak, D. and von Mutius, E. and Alex Study Team, . (2001) Exposure to farming in early life and development of asthma and allergy: a cross-sectional survey. Lancet, Vol. 358, no. 9288. pp. 1129-1133.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5840230

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: A farming environment protects against development of asthma, hay fever, and atopic sensitisation in children. We aimed to establish whether increased exposure to microbial compounds has to occur early in life to affect maturation of the immune system and thereby reduces risk for development of allergic diseases. METHODS: We did a cross-sectional survey in rural areas of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. 2618 (75%) of 3504 parents of 6-13-year-old children completed a standardised questionnaire on asthma, hay fever, and atopic eczema. Children from farming families, and a random sample of non-farmers' children, who gave consent for blood samples to be obtained for measurements of specific serum IgE antibodies to common allergens were invited to participate (n=901). FINDINGS: Exposure of children younger than 1 year, compared with those aged 1-5 years, to stables and consumption of farm milk was associated with lower frequencies of asthma (1% [3/218] vs 11% [15/138]), hay fever (3% [7] vs 13% [18]), and atopic sensitisation (12% [27] vs 29% [40]). Protection against development of asthma was independent from effect on atopic sensitisation. Continual long-term exposure to stables until age 5 years was associated with the lowest frequencies of asthma (0.8% [1/122]), hay fever (0.8% [1]), and atopic sensitisation (8.2% [10]). INTERPRETATION: Long-term and early-life exposure to stables and farm milk induces a strong protective effect against development of asthma, hay fever, and atopic sensitisation.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Former Units within Swiss TPH > Microbial Exposure & Childhood Allergies (Braun-Fahrländer)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Chronic Disease Epidemiology > Air Pollution and Health (Künzli)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Sozial- und Präventivmedizin > Air Pollution and Health (Künzli)
UniBasel Contributors:Waser, Marco
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:The Lancet
ISSN:0140-6736
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:24 May 2013 09:10
Deposited On:26 Apr 2013 06:57

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