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Health Agencies Update
April 18, 2001

Cats Trigger Asthma Only Sometimes

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JAMA. 2001;285(15):1952. doi:10.1001/jama.285.15.1952

Parents who worry that their household cat might trigger asthma in their children shouldn't be too quick to get rid of the pet, according to a study funded in part by the NIAID. The study, which appears in the March 10 issue of Lancet, shows that high levels of cat allergen in the home can decrease the risk of asthma, apparently by altering the immune response to cats.

For many allergens, such as dust mites, the higher the level of exposure, the greater the likelihood of a person producing "allergic" antibodies (IgE antibodies). High allergen levels also increase a person's risk of becoming allergic and developing asthma.