The importance of allergic disease in public health: an iCAALL statement

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From: World Allergy Organization Journal(Vol. 11, Issue 1)
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,720 words
Lexile Measure: 1590L

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Author(s): Mario Sánchez-Borges1 , Bryan L. Martin2 , Antonella M. Muraro3 , Robert A. Wood4 , Ioana O. Agache5 , Ignacio J. Ansotegui6 , Thomas B. Casale7 , Thomas A. Fleisher8 , Peter W. Hellings9 , Nikolaos G. Papadopoulos10 , David B. Peden11 , James L. Sublett12 , Stephen A. Tilles13 and Lanny Rosenwasser14


Allergic diseases constitute a significant cause of morbidity worldwide and a considerable burden on the health and medical systems of both developed and emerging economies. Allergies and related diseases including asthma, rhinosinusitis, atopic dermatitis and life threatening food, drug, and stinging insect allergies affect at least 30% of the population and nearly 80% of families. According to recent studies, their prevalence is increasing globally [1-4].

Medical services providing expert allergy care are lacking in many countries; therefore, the major organizations devoted to the field of allergy (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, AAAAI; American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, ACAAI; European Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology, EAACI; and the World Allergy Organization, WAO), strongly feel that education of health professionals and the public on the importance and impact of allergic diseases as a public health concern should be encouraged.

The International Collaboration in Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (iCAALL), a partnership constituted by AAAAI, ACAAI, EAACI, and WAO, have recommended publishing an advocacy statement with the purpose of calling to the attention of the medical community, health authorities and the public in general, the major impact and relevance of the allergy specialists as key groups of professionals specifically trained for the adequate diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of allergic diseases.

Allergic diseases are often underdiagnosed and undertreated

Allergy is a rather "new" medical specialty, having only emerged with increased awareness of immunologic responses and the increasing importance of non-communicable diseases. However, in spite of being a major global public health issue, the public and the health establishment have generally not recognized the importance of allergic diseases. Since the prevalence of allergic diseases has been steadily increasing, it is time to place the field of allergy in a more prominent place within global medical organizations.

This absence of proper recognition frequently results in a lack of, or incorrect, diagnosis resulting in sub-optimal disease management, negative effects on quality of life, increased morbidity and mortality, and considerable additional direct and indirect costs. Moreover, the complexity and involvement of multiple organs and systems of allergic diseases confounds management in fragmented care based on our current health care delivery systems dependent on traditional organ-based specialists.

Unmet needs in allergic care

In most populations around the...

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