Preventing allergies by monitoring pollen and fungal spores present in the outdoor air
Our Belgian aerobiological monitoring network has the task of constantly measuring the concentrations of pollens and fungal spores in the outdoor air on national soil. We communicate this information daily through our Airallergy website so that people with allergies can take avoidance measures during high-risk periods. This information helps doctors to make an accurate diagnosis and to plan desensitisation treatments (treatment by injection of increasing doses of allergens) that have to take the natural exposure to airborne allergens into account.
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Our aerobiological monitoring network is one of the oldest operational networks in Europe. Since 1982, concentrations of pollens and fungal spores have been measured in the air in Brussels from 1 January to 30 November. The network covers a total of five stations: Brussels, Le Coq, Genk, Tournai and Marche-en-Famenne.
All measurements taken over the course of these decades have enabled us to produce a database of considerable scientific value. We collaborate with the other European aerobiological networks so that our data can help the scientific community to construct the forecast models of tomorrow. But the ability to predict pollen concentrations in the air is still being studied and is proving very difficult because it involves numerous and complex factors. It depends on meteorological conditions, biological factors specific to each plant, the local vegetation, etc.
We are also conducting research to develop new methods for detecting allergenic biological particles in the air. The aim is to be able to quantify the risk of allergy symptoms appearing in sensitised people more quickly and precisely.