The GA²LEN Sentinel Network is an investment in Europe’s future

GA²LEN, the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network aims to reuse its already existing permanent and durable network that was created under the European Framework programme FP6, for the creation of an EU-wide surveillance network on allergies and asthma. GA²LENs work towards a European Sentinel Network comes into line with Public Health and Food Safety.

Allergy and asthma are Europe’s most common chronic diseases and their prevalence is growing. Their incidence has doubled over the last 30 years and more than half of Europe’s citizens are likely to develop an allergy by 2015. Experts claim that up to one child in three is allergic today. Allergic diseases include allergic rhinitis, asthma, rhino conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms, Urticaria and eczema. They are often called ‘global diseases’ due to the large spectrum of symptoms affecting the whole body, the diversity of allergic triggers and because of their increasing prevalence worldwide.

Some allergies may be fatal; others seriously compromise the quality of life: over 70% of allergy patients say they feel limited in their daily activities. There is currently no cure for allergy and asthma, which generate costs both in treatment and regular health care use. Asthma alone is responsible for an estimated nine billion work days lost in the European Union per year, according to EFA, a patients’ organisation and one of the GA²LEN partners.

GA²LEN welcomed in the EU Council conclusions

Council of the European Union conclusions on chronic respiratory diseases in children Asthma, allergic rhinitis, and other chronic respiratory diseases are the most common non-communicable diseases in children, and their prevalence and burden have increased in recent decades. This is why the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) has made their prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment a priority for the EU’s public health policy. On Sept 20—21, 2011, the Polish Presidency held an expert’s conference to prepare the conclusions of the Council. These conclusions were adopted during an interministerial conference of the 27 Member States, on Dec 2, 2011.

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