Microbial environmental exposures play a role in defining the risk for childhood allergic airway disease, according to Susan V. Lynch, PhD, associate professor and director of the Colitis and Crohn’s Disease Microbiome Research Core at the University of California San Francisco.

“This is indicated by the dramatic increase in prevalence, particularly in childhood allergic disease in the last several decades and the prevalence globally, which is really centered around industrialized western nations,” Lynch said during a plenary session at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “As a microbiologist, I think about the microbial environment; and as humans, we really dramatically changed our interaction with microbial environments.”