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Original Article


Epidemiology of urticaria in Spain


P. Gaig1, M. Olona1, D. Muñoz Lejarazu2, M.T. Caballero3, F.J. Domínguez4, S. Echechipia5, J.L. García Abujeta6, M. A. Gonzalo7, R. Lleonart8, C. Martínez Cócera9, A. Rodríguez5 , M. Ferrer10

1 Allergy Unit, Hospital Universitari Joan XXIII, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona;
2 Department of Allergy and Immunology, Santiago Apostol Hospital, Vitoria-Gasteiz;
3 Allergy Service, Hospital La Paz, Madrid;
4 Allergy unit, Hospital Virgen de la Concha, Zamora;
5 Allergy Service, Hospital Virgen del Camino, Pamplona, Navarra;
6 Centro de Especialidades, Alicante;
7 Hospital Infanta Cristina, Badajoz;
8 Hospital General Manresa,Barcelona; Department of Allergy
9 Hospital Clinico San Carlos, Madrid;
10 Department of Allergy, Clinica Universitaria, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain

J Invest Allergol Clin Immunol 2004; Vol. 14(3): 214-220



Background: In spite of the frequency of chronic urticaria there are very few epidemiological studies of its prevalence and distribution.

: We wanted to approach the real prevalence of chronic urticaria in a population-based study and to depict demographic distribution and personal perception of the disease. We also wanted to describe the frequency of acute urticaria episodes in the population studied.

: We conducted a population-based study among adults in Spain. We questioned 5003 individuals after calculating a sample size for a maximum variability (conservative approach p=q=0.5)

: We found a 0.6% (95% CI: 0.4-0.8) prevalence of chronic urticaria. The prevalence is significantly higher in women than in men with a OR=3.82 (95%CI 1.56-9.37). Chronic urticaria is a self-limited disease, yet in 8.7% of cases chronic urticaria lasts from one to 5 years and in 11.3%, for more than 5 years. The average age of onset
is 40 years.

: We offer large epidemiology study data on the prevalence of chronic urticaria. The prevalence of chronic urticaria has not yet been defined in an adult population-based study. With this work we offer such data to describe the prevalence and features of this disease.

: Chronic urticaria, prevalence, population based survey study, phone interview, epidemiology