Racial Differences in Allergic Sensitization: Recent Findings and Future Directions
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- Wegienka, G., Johnson, C.C., Zoratti, E. et al. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep (2013) 13: 255. doi:10.1007/s11882-013-0343-2
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Racial disparities are present in many facets of health and disease. Allergy and asthma are no exceptions. Secondary results from cross-sectional and cohort studies have provided information on the scope of racial disparities in allergic sensitization in the United States. African American/Black individuals tend to be sensitized more frequently than White individuals. Little is known about rates in other race groups. Genetics are unlikely to be the sole or major cause of the observed differences. Home dust allergen and endotoxin levels cannot explain the differences. Studies that have been designed to specifically address the sources of these racial disparities are needed. A “Multilevel Framework” that considers the roles of the individual, family and community presents an excellent approach to guide design of future studies of the causes of these disparities. Understanding the causes of the disparities could lead to interventions that would improve the health of all individuals.