A history of pet contact and/or apparent clinical sensitivity was obtained in 65 (55%) of 118 unselected asthmatic children. These 65 children were skin tested and their sera examined for specific IgE using the radioallergosorbent test. Those children who had apparent clinical sensitivities had larger skin test reactions and were more likely to have positive specific IgE results than those without apparent sensitivities. Positive skin tests were very common (80%), but the larger the skin test reaction (weal diameter greater than 4 mm diameter) the more likely was there to be a positive history or a positive specific IgE result. Hence a large skin test reaction can provide a helpful pointer to animal allergy of clinical importance. Commercially available animal extracts have limitations for diagnostic tests. A questionnaire survey of 150 day schools emphasized the potential opportunities for contact with animal allergens at school.
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