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Vol. 43. Issue 5.
Pages 461-468 (September - October 2015)
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Vol. 43. Issue 5.
Pages 461-468 (September - October 2015)
Original Article
DOI: 10.1016/j.aller.2014.07.007
Respiratory allergy in immigrants to a highly industrialised area in Italy according to area of origin and time period
S. Minettia, E. Raffettib, F. Lodi-Rizzinia, S. Facchettia, E. Schlansera, E. Colomboa, M. Cinquinia, F. Donatob,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, C. Tosonia
a Allergy Unit, University of Brescia, Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy
b Unit of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
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Tables (5)
Table 1. Gender, age, prevalence of asthma, rhinitis and polysensitisation in immigrants aged 15 years and over with respiratory allergy and a first positive test in 1985–2012, according to macro-area of origin and calendar period.
Table 2. Pattern of sensitisation to allergens in adult immigrants according to macro-area of origin and calendar period.
Table 3. The associations (odds ratios, ORs) between macro-region of origin, gender, age and sensitisation to grass and HDM in immigrants using logistic regression models.
Table 4. Gender, age, and prevalence of asthma and rhinitis and polysensitisation in immigrants, according to macro-area of origin, and in Italians (native-born) with respiratory allergic disease and a first positive test for allergy in 2008–2012.
Table 5. Immigrants with respiratory allergy and immigrant adult population living in the province of Brescia by macro-area of origin in 2009.
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Migrants from developing to Western countries tend to become more sensitised to host than to origin country allergens, although substantial changes in migration patterns have occurred in recent decades.


We investigated adult immigrants with respiratory allergy, first tested for allergic sensitisation between 1985 and 2012 in a highly industrialised area in Italy. A comparison was made of the sensitisation pattern between immigrants and a random sample of native-born subjects affected by a respiratory allergy, and among immigrants according to macro-region of origin and time period.


Between 1985 and 2012, 480 immigrants with respiratory allergy had a first positive allergy test. Immigrants were sensitised mainly to grass (67.1%), house dust mites (HDM) (38.5%) and birch (27.5%), with a pattern of sensitisation very similar to that observed in Italians (native-born). An increase in the proportion of subjects with asthma and of subjects with polysensitisation was observed from the first (1985–2002) to the middle (2003–2007) and the most recent period (2008–2012). In recent years, the proportion of subjects with polysensitisation in immigrants is higher than in Italians (native-born) (53.3% vs. 40.1%). Among immigrants, the risk of sensitisation to grass was higher in those from Sub-Saharan Africa (odds ratio, OR=2.76) and Latin America (OR=2.49), whereas risk of sensitisation to HDM was higher among immigrants from South Asia (OR=2.71), compared to immigrants from Eastern Europe.


Immigrants develop multiple sensitisations more frequently than native-born people, and are especially sensitised to local allergens; the country of origin seems to play a role.

Industrialised area
Respiratory allergy


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