Four hundred six subjects, comprising a 10% random sample of all employees, and a sample of 'self-reported' allergic employees of a light industrial plant participated in an epidemiologic study of allergy. Puncture skin testing with a wide variety of crude allergens revealed a significantly higher prevalence of IgE-mediated sensitivity in males than females (29% males and 7% females in a random group; 60% males and 30% females in a self-reported allergic group); however, reported prevalence rates for 'allergy' and different allergic symptoms were generally not different between males and females. Interestingly, reported asthma was greater in skin-test-positive subjects than in skin-test-negative subjects. The authors also noted a decrease in skin-test positivity with increasing age in self-reported allergic subjects. This was significant in the case of several crude allergens but not in the case of positivity to at least one allergen. They also found evidence that people born in and who have been resident in 'Zone I' (MD, PA, Del, NJ, or DC) for most of their lives exhibit a greater prevalence of skin-test positivity than people who were born in and have lived for much of their lives in the northeastern United States (east of the Mississippi River and to the north of South Carolina) other than in Zone I.
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