Prevalence of positive skin test responses to 53 allergens in patients with rhinitis symptoms

Author(s): Calabria CW, Dice JP, Hagan LL

Abstract

Prior studies looking at allergic sensitization have focused on narrow age ranges or small numbers of allergens. This study is the first to examine the prevalence of positive skin test responses in a symptomatic military population with a wide age range of patients and large number of allergens. This study was a retrospective analysis of our skin test database. We included 1137 patients aged 4-79 years old who underwent our standard skin-prick testing panel of 53 aeroallergens and 2 controls using the Quintest device (Hollister-Stier, Spokane, WA). Results indicated that 81.6% of patients had at least one positive skin test. Rates of atopy were similar between male and female patients; 9.2% of patients were monosensitized. The average number of positive skin tests peaked in the 10- to 19-year age group at 13.1 and declined in older age groups. The prevalence of atopy peaked in the 30- to 39-year age group at 85.5% and decreased in older age groups. The most common allergens were grasses, mountain cedar, and dust mites. Sensitization rates for many underreported allergens, including mouse and rat, are presented. This study shows that 81.6% of patients in a symptomatic military population were atopic. These rates are high, even when compared with other allergic populations. Atopy peaked in young adulthood and declined in older age groups. Grasses, mountain cedar, and dust mites were the most common allergens. Although performed in a military population, these results should be applicable to many allergy practices.

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