Differences in grass pollen allergen exposure across Australia
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2015, 39 (1), pp. 51 - 55
- Issue Date:
© 2015 The Authors © 2015 Public Health Association of Australia. Objective: Allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma are important chronic diseases posing serious public health issues in Australia with associated medical, economic, and societal burdens. Pollen are significant sources of clinically relevant outdoor aeroallergens, recognised as both a major trigger for, and cause of, allergic respiratory diseases. This study aimed to provide a national, and indeed international, perspective on the state of Australian pollen data using a large representative sample. Methods: Atmospheric grass pollen concentration is examined over a number of years within the period 1995 to 2013 for Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, and Sydney, including determination of the 'clinical' grass pollen season and grass pollen peak. Results: The results of this study describe, for the first time, a striking spatial and temporal variability in grass pollen seasons in Australia, with important implications for clinicians and public health professionals, and the Australian grass pollen-allergic community. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that static pollen calendars are of limited utility and in some cases misleading. This study also highlights significant deficiencies and limitations in the existing Australian pollen monitoring and data. Implications: Establishment of an Australian national pollen monitoring network would help facilitate advances in the clinical and public health management of the millions of Australians with asthma and allergic rhinitis.
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