Epidemic asthma in Cartagena, Spain, and its association with soybean sensitivity

Epidemiology. 1993 Jan;4(1):76-9. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199301000-00014.


We conducted a matched case-control study to assess the association between epidemic asthma and soybean sensitivity in Cartagena, Spain. In skin tests, 81% of the cases and no control subjects were positive to the commercial soybean allergen; 87% of the cases and 12% of the controls were positive to the prepared soybean allergen; and 69% of the cases and 6% of the controls showed high levels of specific immunoglobulin E antibodies (odds ratio = 10; 95% confidence interval = 1.4-433). The association remained strong after adjustment for total immunoglobulin E and for 28 other allergens. The results indicate that soybean sensitivity may be causing asthma epidemics in Cartagena.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Soybeans*
  • Spain / epidemiology