Risk factors for new-onset cat sensitization among adults: a population-based international cohort study.

TitleRisk factors for new-onset cat sensitization among adults: a population-based international cohort study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsOlivieri M, Zock J-P, Accordini S, Heinrich J, Jarvis D, Künzli N, Antó JM, Norbäck D, Svanes C, Verlato G
Corporate AuthorsIndoor Working Group of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II
JournalJ Allergy Clin Immunol
Volume129
Issue2
Pagination420-5
Date Published2012 Feb
ISSN1097-6825
KeywordsAdult, Allergens, Animals, Cats, Cohort Studies, Europe, Female, Humans, Hypersensitivity, Immunoglobulin E, Male, Pets, Risk Factors, Young Adult
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cat exposure during childhood has been shown to increase the risk of developing cat sensitization, while the effect of cat exposure in adulthood has not yet been established.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate new-onset sensitization to cat in adulthood in relation to changes in cat keeping.

METHODS: A total of 6292 European Community Respiratory Health Survey I (ECRHS I) participants aged 20 to 44 years from 28 European centers, who were not sensitized to cat, were reevaluated 9 years later in ECRHS II. Present and past cat ownership and total and specific IgE levels were assessed in both surveys. Allergen-specific sensitization was defined as a specific serum IgE level of 0.35 kU/L or more.

RESULTS: A total of 4468 subjects did not have a cat in ECRHS I or ECRHS II, 473 had a cat only at baseline, 651 acquired a cat during the follow-up, and 700 had a cat at both evaluations. Two hundred thirty-one subjects (3.7%) became sensitized to cat. In a 2-level multivariable Poisson regression model, cat acquisition during follow-up was significantly associated with new-onset cat sensitization (relative risk = 1.85, 95% CI 1.23-2.78) when compared with those without a cat at both surveys. Preexisting sensitization to other allergens, a history of asthma, nasal allergies and eczema, and high total IgE level were also significant risk factors for developing cat sensitization, while cat ownership in childhood was a significant protective factor.

CONCLUSION: Our data support that acquiring a cat in adulthood nearly doubles the risk of developing cat sensitization. Hence, cat avoidance should be considered in adults, especially in those sensitized to other allergens and reporting a history of allergic diseases.

DOI10.1016/j.jaci.2011.10.044
Alternate JournalJ. Allergy Clin. Immunol.
PubMed ID22168997