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December 14, 1984

Impressions of Clinical Allergy in China

Author Affiliations

Harvard University Health Services Cambridge, Mass
Winchester, Mass

JAMA. 1984;252(22):3127. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350220035012

To the Editor.—  In May 1984, we were part of a delegation of allergists and clinical immunologists to be invited by the Chinese Medical Association to the People's Republic of China. We describe some of our impressions of clinical allergy there.The manifestations of allergic diseases in China and in the West appear similar in some respects, yet strikingly different in others. As in the West, the principal perennial allergens or irritants are house dust, dust mites, molds, animal danders, and cigarette smoke. However, urticaria, not a common allergic illness in the West, is considered the leading allergic illness in China.1 Although IgE levels are somewhat elevated in Chinese patients with urticaria, no specific allergic meaning may be attached to this since the levels are not different from presumably normal Chinese—nor from other Asians. This elevation has been ascribed to the greater incidence of parasitic infestation in Asia.