Association of recurrent wheezing with sensitivity to cockroach allergen in inner-city children

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003 Nov;91(5):455-9. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)61513-X.


Background: There are numerous data that show a strong relationship between early exposure and sensitization to indoor allergens and the development of asthma and persistent wheezing in children. Most studies, however, have only examined the prevalence of allergy in children who have been identified as having asthma.

Objective: To assess the prevalence of positive skin test results to common inhaled allergens and possible association with wheezing in inner-city children being seen in a general pediatric clinic.

Methods: Skin testing to common aeroallergens was performed by the prick-puncture method. Demographic and clinical data were collected.

Results: Seventy-five children aged 2 months to 10 years were evaluated. A total of 37% of the children had a positive skin test result to at least one allergen; 29% of the children were sensitive to dust mite, 15% to cockroach, 9% to cat, 7% to mold, 4% to grass, 3% to ragweed, and 1% to dog. Seven (64%) of 11 children with positive skin test results to cockroach had a history of wheezing compared with 21 (33%) of 64 with negative skin test results to cockroach (P = .05).

Conclusions: Our results indicate that in a population of inner-city children not previously identified as atopic, more than a third showed sensitivity to at least one allergen. Although dust mite was the most common allergen to which the children were sensitized, cockroach sensitivity was the only allergen that correlated significantly with previous episodes of wheezing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cockroaches*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Pyroglyphidae
  • Recurrence
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology*
  • Skin Tests
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health


  • Allergens