Allergy Asthma Immunol Res.  2014 May;6(3):222-227. 10.4168/aair.2014.6.3.222.

A Nationwide Survey of Inhalant Allergens Sensitization and Levels of Indoor Major Allergens in Korea

  • 1Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Institute of Allergy, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The higher prevalence of respiratory allergic disease may be due to increased exposure to inhalation allergens. We conducted a survey of allergic diseases in autumn and winter with detection of major indoor allergens in major cities in Korea.
We enrolled 110 subjects from the fourth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey with stratified, cluster, and systematic sampling procedures. All participants answered a health questionnaire as well as underwent a skin prick test (SPT) and ImmunoCAP for 11 indoor major allergens. We also measured the levels of 5 major allergens (Der f 1, Der p 1, Can f 1, Bla g 1, and Asp f 1) in fine indoor dust from the houses of 60 subjects with a 2-site ELISA.
The prevalence of allergic rhinitis and asthma were 25.5% and 7.3%, respectively. The most common sensitized allergens identified by SPT and ImmunoCAP were Dermatophagoides farinae (40.9%, 36.8%), followed by cockroach (23.6%, 19.5%), mugwort (13.6%, 22.9%), oak (9.1%, 22.9%), Japanese hop (9.1%, 8.6%), and dog dander (8.2%, 6.9%). There was a modest discrepancy between SPT and ImmunoCAP. Der f 1 and Der p 1 were detected in 91.7% and 45.0% of the enrolled houses, respectively. Der f 1 indicated high concentrations in all specific provinces in Korea; however, Der p 1 measured high only in the south. Dog dander allergens were present in 71.7% of houses; however, Bla g 1 was present in only 11.7% of houses and Asp f 1 was not detected in any houses.
The most important inhalant allergens in Korea are house dust mites followed by cockroach, mugwort, oak, Japanese hop, and dog dander in indoor environment, in which The dominant species of house dust mites were different according to region.


Allergen; skin test; dust; indoor; Korea

MeSH Terms

Asian Continental Ancestry Group
Dermatophagoides farinae
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
Nutrition Surveys
Skin Tests
Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Fig. 1 A map of Korea presenting 4 spheres and specific 8 localities.

  • Fig. 2 Positive rate to skin prick test and specific IgE determined by ImmunoCAP. SPT, skin prick test; sIgE, specific immunoglobulin E; D. farina, Dermatophagoides farinae.

  • Fig. 3 Nationwide geographical distribution of group 1 major allergens of house dust mites.

  • Fig. 4 Group 1 major allergen of dog dander levels determined by a 2-site ELISA according to dog inhabitance. DOG (+), Houses with dogs; DOG (-), Houses without dogs.

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