Epidemiology and disease burden from allergic disease in Scotland: analyses of national databases

J R Soc Med. 2009 Oct;102(10):431-42. doi: 10.1258/jrsm.2009.090027.


Background: There are ongoing concerns about the quality of care provided to patients with allergic disorders in Scotland, but there are relatively few reliable data on the overall disease burden. We sought to: (1) describe the incidence, prevalence and outcome of allergic disorders; (2) estimate healthcare burden and costs; and (3) investigate ethnic variations in the epidemiology and outcomes from allergic disorders in Scotland.

Data sources: national surveys; primary care data; prescribing and medication data; hospital admissions data and mortality data.

Results: Allergic disorders are extremely common in Scotland, affecting about one in three of the population at some time in their lives. Incidence was highest for eczema (10.2 per 1000 registered patients). Over 4% of all GP consultations and 1.5% of hospital admissions were for allergic disorders. There were 100 asthma deaths in 2005 (20 per million people). Direct healthcare costs for allergic disorders were an estimated pound130 million per year, the majority of these being incurred in primary care and related to asthma.

Conclusions: Allergic disorders are common in Scotland and given the very high proportion of children now affected, the high disease burden associated with these conditions is likely to persist for many decades.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cost of Illness
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / mortality
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult