Allergy plant ambrosia: researchers demand political help

Allergy plant ambrosia: researchers demand political help

"Without political help, we won’t get a grip on the problem," says thomas dummel, meteorologist at the free university of berlin, on friday at the end of a conference spanning a number of disciplines. "We demand a nationwide obligation to report and combat ambrosia."An action program like the one in berlin may be effective, but it is no longer enough. Ragweed blooms in september and october and extends the suffering period for many allergy sufferers.

For two days, biologists, physicians, geologists, meteorologists, and farmers and foresters from germany, austria, and switzerland shared their knowledge about ragweed in berlin and brandenburg. "This is our last cry for help," says dummel. "We have done enough research now. Now something must happen."

Reactions to ambrosia often develop gradually over several years. According to dummel, some 500 doctors in berlin have evaluated 4500 allergy tests in recent years. "According to the study, 12 to 13 percent of berlin residents are sensitive to ambrosia, and 5 percent already have the allergy." The more the plant spreads, the more likely the risk of allergy grows, too.

The german experts do not want it to come as far as in hungary, italy or france. Climate change had led to ambrosia spreading unchecked there. Meanwhile, more allergy sufferers there suffered than from birch pollen, reports dummel. Only switzerland has consistently applied the emergency brake. Since 2005, there has been an obligation to report and combat it there. "They don’t have an ambrosia problem anymore now."

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