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Allergy Epidemic Could Strike Europe, Paper Reports

Allergy Epidemic Could Strike Europe, Paper Reports
LONDON - Researchers predict half of all Europeans may have an allergy by 2015, the Guardian newspaper reported yesterday.

The paper said European scientists would launch the largest-ever study this week to assess the causes of asthma and allergies.

Scientists want to know why rates are rising and why British children have the third highest rate of asthma in the world - after Australia and New Zealand.

A key focus of the five-year study will be on the hypothesis that the rise in allergies is linked to the way people live in developed countries, in bacteria-free homes and eating semi-sterile food.

The European Commission is expected to give 9.8 million pounds Thursday to the study, which will involve 25 European universities, said the paper.

Asthma is responsible for nine billion working days lost each year in the European Union, it said.

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