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What is ECRHS II?

ECRHS II was a nine year follow-up prospective survey of more than 10,000 young adults which began in 1998. It was a collaborative study and aimed to collect data from 29 centres in 14 countries (mostly European). The study was funded by the European Commission, as well as other sources, as part of their Quality of Life Programme. Major papers have already been published, and many more are in preparation by Working Groups. See link to Publications.


  1. To determine the incidence and prognosis of allergy, allergic disease (asthma, hayfever and eczema) and low lung function in adults.

  2. To describe the distribution of exposure to known or suspected environmental risk factors associated with the incidence and prognosis of allergy, allergic disease and low lung function.

  3. To determine the risk attributable to chronic exposure to these environmental risk factors for the incidence and prognosis of allergy, allergic disease and low lung function.

  4. To identify subgroups within the population based on gender, prior disease status, bronchial responsiveness and genetic risk who may be more susceptible to these environmental risk factors and measure their excess risk.

  5. To establish a bank of blood samples suitable for DNA extraction taken from representative samples of the population that can be linked to health and environmental information.


ECRHS II had 29 centres where individuals who took part in the clinical stage of ECRHS I, were sent a short screening questionnaire. Those who responded were invited to a local fieldwork centre, situated in an outpatient or lung function laboratory in a local hospital or centre. Environmental information was collected by home visits in a subsample of homes, and past and current exposure to air pollution was assessed through retrieval of air pollution records and by a programme of air pollution monitoring.


In the fieldwork centre the following procedures were performed:


  • Venepuncture - blood was taken for measurement of specific IgE to house dust mite, grass, cat and Cladosporium, as well as total IgE; in some centres samples were stored for later use in DNA studies.

  • Self- completion of the SF-36, a validated and widely used Quality Of Life questionnaire, and AQLQ, a disease-specific measure of quality of life;

  • Measurement of lung function (FEV1 and FVC);

  • Bronchial challenge testing

  • Detailed administered questionnaire asking about symptoms, exposure to known or suspected risk factors for asthma, and health service utilisation;

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