The protective effect of rural living against atopy in Mongolia

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Abstract

Background

Farm environment in childhood protects against atopy. We investigated in a population-based study in Mongolia the effects of rural living and migration from rural to urban areas on the risk of atopy.

Methods

The screening study data of 9453 subjects, aged 10–60 years, were used for taking the sample for the clinical study in which 869 subjects were examined. Asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and sensitization were clinically defined and their risk factors analysed by logistic regression.

Results

The risks of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.43, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.19–0.98] and allergic sensitization (OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.13–0.55) were the lowest in subjects living in a village from birth and intermediate in subjects who had relocated from a village to a town (OR for rhinoconjunctivitis 0.68, 95% CI 0.36–1.27, OR for sensitization 0.62, 95% CI 0.35–1.12) compared with subjects living in a town from birth. Simultaneous exposure to herd animals and dung heating decreased the risk of atopy. Keeping animals was a risk-factor for asthma only in Ulaanbaatar city.

Conclusions

Continuing farm exposure after childhood may be important in reducing the risk of atopy.

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