, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 293-297

Ragweed – An allergy risk in Sweden?

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Abstract

Ragweed pollen, which is a major cause of allergic rhinitis in North America and during the last decades, also in parts of the European continent, has not been regarded as a risk in Sweden, since occurrences of Ambrosia have been rare and with two exceptions, ephemeral. During the last four years, however, long-distance transported pollen has been registered in South Sweden. Moreover, seeds are dispersed by man with birdseed and reports on ragweed plants growing at birdtables are becoming more and more common. In warm years, the fruits of these plants mature and are germinative. We argue that there is a risk that ragweed pollen may be a problem in the future in Sweden. Long-distance transport from the continent is likely to be increasingly more common, and in larger amounts, as ragweed is rapidly spreading in Europe. Among the plants now appearing within Sweden, selection is likely to favour phenotypes which are able to fulfil their life-cycle during the indigenous vegetation period, especially in a scenario of global warming.