Can parasitic worms cause Asthma?

Andrew Walley awalley at radius.jr2.ox.ac.uk
Fri Nov 28 05:25:55 EST 1997


Omar O. Barriga wrote:

> >Does anybody have any information on Asthma with respect to Parasite
> >induced conditions?
> >help greatly appreciated
> >Sim
>
> Sim:
>         Asthma is an atopic disease (this is, a disease of people with
> propensity to
> allergies). Many parasites (particularly nematodes, and, among them,
> particularly those that migrate in the tissues) trigger allergic
> reactions.
>         The link has been mentioned several times in the literature:
> parasites may
> trigger strong allergic reactions that, in atopic people, may
> exacerbate
> allergic responses to antigens (like the house dust) that cause the
> asthmatic
> symptoms.
>         It makes scientific sense but I do not know of any reliable
> confirmatory
> study yet.
>         Please share your information if you find something,
>                 Cheers!
>                                 Omar O. Barriga

 I'm not sure that parasites are know to trigger allergic reactions
though they obviously stimulate inflammatory reactions. There has been
some speculation that in the majority of Western society there is no
requirement for the IgE based response to parasites as they have
generally been eliminated. The system may then react to inappropriate
antigens such as house dust mite faeces i.e. allergens, giving rise to
asthma. As far as I know there is no evidence to support this
interesting theory.

Andrew




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