Not only were the members if the European Parliament staggered to find how many of them suffered from allergies, but so were the team from the EAACI (European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology) who organised the tests!
‘We knew that allergies are a major health issue but frankly we have been overwhelmed by the interest of people from the European Parliament.’ said Professor Nikos Papadopoulos, the President of EAACI.
The allergy tests, which had been organised by Romanian MEP Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu and carried out by the allergy team at the Catholic University of Leuven and the University Hospitals Leuven, found that a significant number of MEPs had quite severe symptoms which had a serious impact on their lives.
The purpose behind the tests was to get MEPs to sign up to Written Declaration 0022/2013 to encourage the European Commission to take allergy, and especially treatment for allergy, more seriously:
Written declaration, under Rule 123 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, on recognising the burden of allergic disease
1. More than 150 million EU citizens suffer from chronic allergic diseases, half of whom are undiagnosed due to a lack of awareness and shortage of medical specialists;
2. More than 100 million Europeans suffer from allergic rhinitis and 70 million from asthma, the most common non-communicable diseases in children and the main cause of children’s emergency room visits and hospital admissions;
3. More than 17 million Europeans suffer from food allergies or severe allergies implying a risk of acute attacks or anaphylaxis with life-threatening potential;
4. Allergies are an underestimated cause of unhealthy ageing and have a severe impact on social, professional and educational performance, especially in children, causing socioeconomic inequalities;
5. The Commission is therefore called upon to encourage cooperation and coordination between Member States to promote: national allergy programmes to reduce the disease burden and health inequalities; training in allergies and multidisciplinary care plans to improve disease management; use of preventive and tolerance-inducing approaches to allergy treatment; and scientific research into direct and indirect allergy risk factors, including pollution;
6. This declaration, together with the names of the signatories, is forwarded to the Commission.
Let’s hope it has some effect.!
See here for the EAACI’s full press release.