Mugwort ambrosia is spreading in Europe

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Mugwort ambrosia is a growing health hazard in Europe

Europe faces an invasion of pollen. The North American bite-foot ambrosia is spreading in Europe - and is highly allergenic. It helps to significantly lengthen the hay fever season and thus the burden on the patient. In addition, it causes millions in costs per year.

Hay fever occurs in Germany mainly between March and July. Meanwhile, however, many patients suffer from a significantly longer allergy season. This is due to the mugwort ambrosia (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), originally from North America, which is now also spreading in Germany and Europe, where it blooms from August to October. Because the plant's pollen is highly allergenic, allergy sufferers can experience massive symptoms such as asthma.

Allergy costs are rising Scientists at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Allergy Center at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich at LMU have now for the first time estimated the health costs this will cause.

A projection of the data from their patient survey shows that the treatment costs for pollen allergy sufferers could rise by 10 to 25 percent. In total, this can amount to between 200 million and - in the worst case - more than one billion euros per year.

The researchers admit that it is almost impossible to calculate the costs that can be attributed to a specific allergen. Nevertheless, the study shows which dimension the problem can take. The spread of the plant must therefore be contained, the scientists write. (Original publication: W. Born et al. Health costs of mugwort ambrosia in Germany. Environmental medicine in research and practice; 2012.)

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Video: Harvesting Mugwort

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