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04-01-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Atopic conditions linked to increased risk for serious pneumococcal disease


Free abstract

MedWire News: All atopic conditions are associated with an increased risk for serious pneumococcal disease (SPD), study results suggest.

Writing in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Young Juhn (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA) and team explain that previous research has shown that patients with asthma face a significantly greater risk for SPD than those without the respiratory condition.

But whether patients with other atopic conditions also face an increased risk for SPD remained unclear.

The researchers therefore studied data on 174 residents of Rochester who developed SPD between 1964 and 1983, and 348 age- and gender-matched controls.

Examination of the participants’ medical records revealed that 14.9% of the SPD patients and 8.3% of the controls had an atopic disorder other than asthma, such as atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.

After accounting for the presence of asthma, other previous high-risk conditions for SPD, smoking exposure, and educational status, the researchers found that atopic conditions other than asthma were associated with a 2.13-fold increased risk for SPD.

The risk for SPD associated with atopic conditions was particularly high for atopic dermatitis (odds ratio=2.45), the researchers note.

Juhn and team conclude: “In addition to asthma, atopic conditions other than asthma are also associated with an increased risk of serious pneumococcal infections.”

They add: “There may be a common immunogenetic mechanism underlying increased risk of SPD among individuals with either asthma or other atopic conditions, which deserves further investigation.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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