Source: The Mercury, Thursday, December 1, 1994, p.8

National strategy to reduce risk of asthma

REDUCING the risk of 
asthma through the early 
detection of allergies will 
be a key focus of a new 
national strategy to combat 
the deadly disease. 
   Federal Health Minister 
Carmen Lawrence said 
yesterday the strategy was 
needed to help combat a 
problem which affected 
about two million 
Australians and cost the 
community about $700 
million a year. 
   She said reducing the 
incidence of asthma and the 
death rate among sufferers 
was a priority. 
   Australasian Society of 
Clinical Immunology and 
Allergy chairman John 
Weiner said allergies were 
responsible for about 90 
per cent of asthma in 
children and 60 per cent in 
   The main causes of 
allergies include dust 
mites, animal hair, tobacco 
smoke, food additives and 
   "We will assess high- 
risk families and allergies 
and put money into trying 
to intervene to reduce 
risks," he said. 
   Dr Lawrence said the 
incidence of asthma had 
risen dramatically over the 
past 20 years although the 
death rate had declined since 

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