Allergy burden in Luxembourg: a population-based, cross-sectional health survey paralleled by component-resolved-IgE-diagnosis
INTRODUCTION: Allergy is the most common chronic health condition in Europe. The European Health Examination Survey (EHES) study is a population-based, cross-sectional survey on baseline characteristics of the general health status representative for adults. The aim of this study was to establish a first national dataset on allergies in Luxembourg by extracting relevant disease-specific data from the EHES survey in Luxembourg (EHES-LUX) and identifying molecular sensitization patterns in bio-banked serum samples from potential allergy cases.
METHODS: Data were extracted from the EHES-LUX questionnaire (N=1,529 participants; age 25-64) using the software R Studio and participant groups were compared using descriptive statistics (Chi-Square, T-test, Spearman’s correlation). All participants with reported allergy (N=458) were tested by multiplex IgE-testing using a macroarray with 299 allergens from food and environmental sources. All other participants (876) were tested with a Phadiatop assay for respiratory sensitization. Positive Phadiatop cases were also analyzed on the macroarray.
RESULTS: A self-reported overall allergy percentage of 40.2% was determined in the EHESLUX cohort (25.2% nasal, 20.9% skin, 17.8% eye, 9.0% food allergy, 8.1% asthma). IgE sensitization was found in 43,0 % of the cohort. This sensitization group reported higher discomfort on specific aspects of their physical and mental needs, such as more work-absence due to health issues and tiredness. The most common sensitization was against grass pollen. 45.4% of the cohort was sensitized against Timothy grass (Phl p 1), followed by Rye grass (Lol p 1 40.1%) and Bermuda grass (Cyn d 1 29.5%). Very high significant correlation was found between Birch allergen Bet v 1 (29.2% sensitized) and its cross-reactive allergens Strawberry Fra a 1/3, Hazelnut Cor a 1, Apple Mal d 1, characteristic for the “pollen-fruit-syndrome “. A high number of participants (26.3%) presented with high co-sensitizations to multiple respiratory sources, pollens and other environmental allergens (mites/animal dander/mold), suggesting a high respiratory allergy burden.
CONCLUSION: In Luxembourgish adults, a high overall allergy burden was found, with respiratory allergens being a major contributor. Reported food allergy symptoms can be explained by the ”pollen-fruit-syndrome”.