To explore the nature and determinants of variations in the prevalence of asthma and allergic disease among European children. To compare exposure to aeroallergens and indoor pollutants in homes across Europe.
To establish a research network for further studies of these geographical variations.
As part of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), questionnaire surveys of a total of 266,169 children aged 6-7 or 13-14 were completed during 1992-95 in 53 centres in 12 European Union countries, one centre in Norway, and a further 11 centres in 7 countries of Eastern Europe (including the former Soviet Union). Comparisons of the symptom prevalences in each centre suggest substantial differences in the prevalence of allergy within Europe, the range being almost as great as that seen globally. This Concerted Action initiative will investigate these geographical differences further by: $L1 Conducting collaborative analyses of data from centres in both Western and Eastern Europe in relation to climate, environmental pollution, indoor exposures to pollution and allergens, infection, diet, lifestyle and medical care. $L2 Establishing a central laboratory for measurement of aeroallergen levels in dust specimens and nitrogen dioxide in passive samplers to be collected from a small but representative sample of homes in geographically dispersed study centres. $L3 Developing resource centres for co-ordinating comparative field surveys using objective measures of atopic dermatitis, bronchial hyperresponsiveness and allergic sensitisation.$L $L Keywords:$L Asthma, allergy, epidemiology, children, aeroallergens, air pollution