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World Allergy Congress 2005: Allergies on the rise

Munich, Germany, July 2005 For one week, Munich was host to scientists and clinicians discussing and reflecting on the importance of allergy in a changing world. A total of 6987 participants from around the world met on invitation of the World Allergy Organization (WAO) and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) at the Munich convention center. Allergy represents a mayor health problem in most countries of the world. It is no longer a disease of only "rich" or industrialized societies. The prevalence of allergic disorders such as hay fever, asthma and neurodermitis has increased so drastically over the past decade that experts speak in terms of an epidemic like situation. According to WAO president Prof. Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani from Argentina, there are now 300 million asthma patients worldwide. In Germany, up to 4.4 percent of all adults and approximately three to seven percent of all children and teenagers suffer from asthma, which is triggered by allergies in 85 percent of all cases. "Our recommendations for prevention have not managed to prevent an increase in the prevalence of allergies. Thus, it is all the more important that we strengthen our research efforts aimed at finding ways to neutralize allergens and identify the preventive effects of protective factors," noted Prof. Ulrich Wahn, president of the EAACI in Munich.

"Our main concern is the patient's well-being," said Prof. Johannes Ring, a professor at the Technical University of Munich and chairman of the World Allergy Congress. Prof. Ring is developing a patient training program in collaboration with psychologists and educators as well as representatives of patient organizations. "We need to enable allergy patients to manage their own disorder," Prof. Ring said, adding that the more information patients have about their disorder, the better the chance that their allergy will not have a major adverse effect on their work or quality of life. "We should enable every patient to become their own doctor," noted Prof. Ring.

The Congress covered the whole spectrum of allergy and clinical immunology in its scientific program with a special focus on environmental aspects and molecular mechanisms in allergy pathophysiology. 300 presentations in workshops, symposia and satellite events and close to 1,600 abstracts for free communications comprised the extensive scientific agenda. "We have to thank Professor Ring for the organization and planning of this exciting Congress which surpassed all our expectations", said WAO president Prof. Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani in closing the Munich congress.

Vienna and Bangkok ante portas

The World Allergy Congress 2005 in Munich just closed, but already two big upcoming events are on the Allergy calendar: Vienna will host the XXVth Congress of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) from the 10th 14th June in 2006. Next year's stirring central theme: Basic Science in Allergology and Clinical Immunology, a Prerequisite for Improving Patient Care. On invitation from Professor Rudolf Valenta, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, allergists from around the world are expected in the city on the Danube to once again impart fascinating new findings on a wide range of topics in allergy and immunology. "It is becoming quite clear, for example, that biotechnologically created recombinant allergens will revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases in the future," Valenta predicts.

Located at the cross-roads of Western and Eastern Europe, Vienna offers an excellent setting for a truly European meeting. With its unique flair and countless cultural highlights, the Austrian capital guarantees that the event will be not only a scientific event of the highest caliber, but also an unforgettable social and cultural experience. There is even an anniversary to celebrate: 100 years ago, i.e. in 1906, the Austrian pediatrician Clemens von Pirquet coined the phrase ALLERGY.

The date for the XX World Allergy Congress thereafter has also been set, a joint event of the Congress of the World Allergy Organization (WAO), the Congress of the Asia Pacific Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (APAACI), and the Allergy and Immunology Society of Thailand. From 2nd - 6th December 2007, Local Organizing Committee Congress Chairman Professor Pakit Vichyanond invites allergy specialists to assemble for scientific dialogue in Thailand 's capital, Bangkok.

Munich, Vienna, Bangkok Allergology is truly international. Rightly so, as allergic disease knows no borders. As many people in Thailand suffer from symptoms of allergic rhinitis or allergy-induced asthma as in Germany.