SINGAPORE, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Scientists in Singapore said on Friday that they found exposure to house dust mites to be the primary cause of respiratory allergies in the tropical city sate.
The scientists from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research and the National University of Singapore surveyed about 8, 000 people, with 80 percent found to be reactive to house dust mites.
These people show only minor reactivity to other allergens.
The high rate of reactions from house dust mites are "strongly correlated with increased rates of allergic rhinitis and asthma in Singapore," the scientists said.
"We believe that results from this study will help to understand the differences of allergies in the tropics and other parts of the world," Olaf Rotzschke, the lead investigator of the study at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.
The results also suggested that changes in lifestyle resulting in more time spent indoors increased the exposure to high loads of house dust mite allergens.
It is estimated that close to 15 percent of Singapore's adult population are affected by asthma and nearly 40 percent troubled by allergic rhinitis.