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Dr Trikamjee’s takeaway messages were:
- House dust mite (HDM) allergy is highly prevalent
Can manifest in the respiratory system as allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, or both but should be thought of as one common condition affecting the whole respiratory tract.
Although mite populations are constrained by humidity, the adaptive spread of the HDM, overlapping as it does with human habitation, suggests that it thrives in preferred human living conditions.
- Controlling exposure is challenging.
- Studies indicate that HDM allergen levels should be maintained at less than 2ug/g to decrease the likelihood of sensitization; however, measures to decrease HDM exposure have shown little or no benefit on symptoms in sensitized subjects.
- HDM allergens are unusually potent and able to activate both the adaptive and innate immune systems.
- The exact pathways vary according to allergen group and elucidating these offers could be an exciting new avenue of future research for understanding HDM allergy in human subjects.
- The interactions between allergen, immune response, sensitization, and airways disease are highly complex and still incompletely understood.
- The best outcomes for patients might be achieved by focusing directly on the HDM and its allergens and identifying HDM allergy as the underlying cause of respiratory allergic disease is an important step in managing clinical control of symptoms, as well as potentially preventing disease progression.
Dr Trikamjee is a specialist Paediatrician and Allergologist. She holds a subspecialty Certificate in Paediatric Allergy, Diploma in Allergy, and the Union of European Medical Specialists Allergy and Immunology Certificate. She is currently a consultant at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute, where she is actively involved in research in the field of paediatrics, allergy, and immunology and has co-authored several publications in international peer review journals.
Dr Trikamjee serves on two international Allergy Immunology boards (the World Allergy Organization, and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology) and is a member of the World Allergy Organization International Allergy Prevention Committee.