Last week the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) conducted three days of diagnostic tests for allergies in the European Parliament. In total 350 people took the opportunity to be examined for sensitivity to the most common allergens and to be given an expert advice, and 47% of them tested positively.
Among the 150 million Europeans affected by allergic diseases, approximately one fifth are affected by severe, debilitating diseases, but these are neglected as a public health concern. Around 50% of allergies sufferers are undiagnosed, and others often have to wait a considerable time before a diagnosis becomes available.
The event was organised with the sponsorship of Claudiu Ciprian Ta?na?sescu MEP and the tests were conducted by a medical team led by Professor Peter Hellings, Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven and Clinic Head at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology of the University Hospitals Leuven.
Professor Nikos Papadopoulos, the President of EAACI, said:
"We knew that allergies are a major health issue but frankly we have been overwhelmed by the interest of people from the European Parliament. It demonstrates the burden of allergy and that it is not sufficiently recognised."
Professor Antonella Muraro, Secretary General of EAACI added:
"There is a need to acknowledge the increasing demand and to improve allergy services across European countries."
Professor Peter Hellings said:
"My team and I conducted diagnostic tests and provided advice non-stop on each of the three days. Some of the participants had quite severe symptoms. A first step towards helping patients with allergy should be to provide them with easier access to diagnosis."
Claudiu Ciprian Ta?na?sescu MEP said:
"I am very happy that together with EAACI we have managed to facilitate an allergy test for a considerable number of people in the European Parliament. This common chronic disease has a serious impact on people's lives, and I urge Member States to develop adequate national allergy programmes."
EAACI therefore urges those MEPs who have not already done so to sign the Written Declaration on Recognising the Burden of Allergic Disease 1 before it closes on 21st January.
0022/2013 Written declaration, under Rule 123 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, on recognisingthe burden of allergic disease.
1. More than 150 million EU citizens suffer from chronic allergic diseases, half of whom are
undiagnosed due to a lack of awareness and shortage of medical specialists;
2. More than 100 million Europeans suffer from allergic rhinitis and 70 million from asthma, the most common non-communicable diseases in children and the main cause of children's emergency room visits and hospital admissions;
3. More than 17 million Europeans suffer from food allergies or severe allergies implying a risk of acute attacks or anaphylaxis with life-threatening potential;
4. Allergies are an underestimated cause of unhealthy ageing and have a severe impact on social, professional and educational performance, especially in children, causing socioeconomic inequalities;
5. The Commission is therefore called upon to encourage cooperation and coordination between Member States to promote: national allergy programmes to reduce the disease burden and health inequalities; training in allergies and multidisciplinary care plans to improve disease management; use of preventive and tolerance-inducing approaches to allergy treatment; and scientific research into direct and indirect allergy risk factors, including pollution;
6. This declaration, together with the names of the signatories, is forwarded to the Commission.
• If this article was of interest you will find many other articles on unlikely allergies and allergy connections here – and links to many relevant research studies here.
• For more on the more 'mainstream' allergies check in to our 'allergy and intolerance home page' – and for ideas on alternative foods go here.
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