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Self-Reported Survey on Allergy Symptoms Among First-Year Students in Veterinary Medicine: A Preamble to the AllergoVet Cohort Study
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Practical work in veterinary medicine provides exposure to various allergens which could increase the risk of sensitization. With the ongoing prospective “AllergoVet” study, we are investigating patterns of allergic symptoms and sensitization among veterinary students. Here, we report the results of the introductory self-reported survey on the presence of allergies in the first-year students of veterinary medicine, who had begun their studies in the years 2013–2016. The survey included 553 students who answered a questionnaire (63% response rate, 83% female ratio). The median age was 20 years (IQR: 19–22 years). About half of the responders indicated an interest in participating in the prospective study (“candidates”). Those who were uninterested in participating were termed “noncandidates”. A doctor’s diagnosis of any kind of atopic disease was reported by every fourth student. Hay fever was reported by 71 (13%) and allergic asthma by 38 (6.9%) students. The prevalence of hay fever in “candidates” (n = 294) and “noncandidates” (n = 259) was 13.5% and 12.2%, respectively. Allergic asthma was reported by 9.9% of “candidates” and 3.5% of “noncandidates”, the difference being significant (p = 0.003). We conclude that the prevalence of self-reported allergic symptoms in the first-year students of veterinary medicine is similar to that in the general population. Pre-existing allergic asthma may have increased the motivation for the enrolment into the longitudinal “AllergoVet-study”.
KeywordsAllergy Animal allergens Asthma Atopic eczema Hay fever Sensitization
Conflicts of Interest
The work is part of the IPA project 109-AllergoVet funded by the intramural budgets provided by the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) to the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine (IPA). Practical realization of the study was supported by the Unfallkasse Hessen (especially I. Thullner) and the University for Veterinary Medicine, Giessen (especially Prof. Dr. St. Arnhold and Prof. Dr. S. Tacke). The authors also want to express their gratitude to all students who participated in the study. The authors are independent from the DGUV in the study design and the interpretation of the results and have no other conflicts of interest to declare.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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