Identification of relevant allergens that are prevalent in each environment which may have diagnostic and therapeutic implications in allergic diseases. This study aimed to identify the pattern of sensitisation to inhalant allergens in Omani patients with asthma, allergic rhinitis and rhinoconjunctivitis.
The study was carried out during three consecutive years (2004–2006) at the allergy skin test laboratory of Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman. Records of patients who had undergone an allergy skin prick test with a referring diagnosis of asthma, allergic rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis were reviewed. Two panels were used during the 3 years period. The frequencies of positive skin tests were analysed.
689 patients were tested, 384 for the first panel and 305 for the second panel. In the first panel, the commonest positive allergens were: house dust mites (37.8%), hay dust (35.4%), feathers (33.3%), sheep wool (26.6%), mixed threshing dust (25.8%), cat fur (24.2%), cockroach (22.7%), straw dust (22.7%), horse hair (17.4%), maize (16.1%), grasses (11.5%), cotton flock (10.7%), trees (10.4%), cow hair (7.8%), Alternaria alternata (3.6%), Aspergillus Niger (3.4%), and Aspergillus fumigatus (1.3%). In the second panel, the commonest positive allergens were also house dust mites: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (50.8%), Dermatophagoides farinae (47.9%); Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) (35.7%), Russian thistle (Salsola kali) (34.4%), cockroach (32.1%), Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) (19.7%), grass mix-five standard (18.0%), wheat cultivate (14.1%), cats (13.8%), Penicillium notatum (4.3%), Alternaria tenius (3.9%), Aspergillus Niger (3.3%), feather mix (3.0%), dog (2.6%), horse hair and dander (2.6%), and Aspergillus fumigatus (1.6%).
The pattern of sensitisation to environmental allergens in Oman seems to be similar to other reports from the Arabian Peninsula. Methods to identify and characterise environment specific allergens like a pollen survey may help in the management of patients with allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and rhinoconjunctivitis.