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Warming weed raises allergy risk

Monday October 17th, 2011

Global warming may be spreading an unpleasant weed which causes allergic reactions including asthma, hay fever and skin reactions, experts warned yesterday.

A major project will study the spread of ragweed across Europe. The weed has not yet reached the UK but is now epidemic in many parts of the continent.

Scientists from the University of East Anglia, UK, will work with experts from Austria, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Croatia on the EU funded project, launched in Vienna.

Their aim is to assess the risk of pollen-caused allergy spreading through global warming and propose ways to prevent this happening.

In the worst-hit parts of Europe as many as 20 per cent of children are affected by allergies caused by ragweed pollen.

Dr Clare Goodess, from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, said: “Common ragweed is not an issue here in the UK - yet.

"As global temperatures rise we are seeing very rapid spread of this highly invasive plant and it may only be a matter of time before it appears in the UK – causing real health problems for the growing number of people who suffer from allergies, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly.”

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Europe | UK News | World Health

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