Hygiene hypothesis and the epidemic of allergy
Invited conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractAllergies are some of the most common chronic disorders in childhood. From the 50’s to the 80’s, many epidemiological studies have confirmed an increasing trend of childhood asthma and related allergies in parallel of economic development and urbanization. Researchers from around the world have been trying to determine the factors which might be responsible for inducing such trend. The well-known factors associated with asthma were atopy, air pollution and exposure to tobacco smoke, urbanization, dietary changes such as consumption of fruits and vegetables, infections including viral and bacterial cause, personal factors such as low birth weight and born by Caesarean section. David Strachan evaluated a group of UK young adults and showed an inverse relationship between the number of older siblings and hay fever at 23 years of age. He hypothesized that early unhygienic contact may protect against subsequent development of hay fever. Since then, many studies around the world confirmed the protective role of growing up in a farm. This has led to the findings of early microbial exposure might be the key factor for the protection. However, the microbial exposure associated with cows and unpasteurized farm milk is not present in China. Data from rural China showed similar rural protection against asthma as in western countries. Careful epidemiological studies and analysis of dust samples from different environment may reveal the common signals for protection. After 30 years of research in this area, lots of lessons have been learnt along the way. Clear understanding of the protective factors will help in the future development of primary preventive strategies.
All Author(s) ListGary Wong
Name of ConferenceEuropean Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Annual Congress
Start Date of Conference01/06/2019
End Date of Conference05/06/2019
Place of ConferenceLisbon
Country/Region of ConferencePortugal
Year2019
Month6
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2020-15-05 at 11:18