Effects of Climate change on respiratory allergic diseases and asthma prevalence

Task force on “Effects of Climate change on respiratory allergic diseases and on asthma prevalence”


It is now widely accepted that earth’s temperature is increasing and changes are also occurring in the amount, intensity, frequency and type of precipitation and in occurrence of extreme events.

As stated in the 2007 Working Group I Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.

The effects of climate change on respiratory allergy are still unclear and current knowledge is provided by epidemiological and experimental studies on the relationship between asthma and environmental factors, like meteorological variables, airborne allergens and air pollution. The socio-economic burden of allergic diseases and their increasing prevalence, especially in developing countries, make a systematic analysis of possible effects of current climate change scenarios on asthma and atopy an hot topic for both EAACI and ERS.

Current knowledge about environmental factors affecting allergic airways diseases is still fragmentary and relationships between factors partly unclear. The need of a multidisciplinary approach might be one of the reasons why a comprehensive analysis of this issue is still lacking.

In our opinion, the document produced by the Task Force, might represent the first (mandatory) step to identify the interventions able to mitigate possible effects of climate change on asthmatic and atopic patients. The Position Paper might provide the scientific background for political interventions on both national and European levels.


The aim of the Task Force is to provide, through a multidisciplinary approach, a document containing: - a state of the art of environmental factors (and their inter-relationships) affecting asthma and atopic diseases - a comprehensive evaluation of the influence of weather variables on environmental factors and possible effects of current climate change scenarios - the possible effects of climate change on the prevalence of asthma and atopic diseases, on the basis of current hypotheses (“Hygiene Hypothesis”) and studies (effects of air pollution on lung development, etc) - the interventions able to mitigate negative effects.


Chairpersons: Gennaro D’Amato (Italy)
Isabella Annesi Maesano (France)

Secretary: Lorenzo Cecchi (Italy)

Isabella Annesi Maesano (Paris, France), ERS group coordinator
Francesco Forastiere (Rome, Italy)
Jon Ayres (Aberdeen, Scotland)
Bert Forsberg (Umea, Sweden)
Jordi Sunyer (Barcelona, Spain)

Gennaro D’Amato (Naples, Italy), EAACI group coordinator
Carlos Nunes (Portimao, Portugal)
Lorenzo Cecchi (Florence, Italy)
Heidrun Behrendt (Munich, Germany)
Akdis Cezmi (Davos, Switzerland)


Projections of the effects of climate change on allergic asthma: the contribution of aerobiology

Last updated 27 March 2012