Asthma is the major chronic childhood illness in Europe, costing the European Community more than three billion euros each year. According to the charity Asthma UK, 5.2 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma, 1.1 million of whom are children, and there is a person with asthma in one in five households in the UK.
The EU is currently funding a major research project (Gabriel) involving over 150 scientists from 14 European countries in order to identify key factors in the development of asthma. Findings so far suggest that asthma is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental effects, and that increasing urbanisation may be contributing to the rise in the numbers affected.
What measures are Member States taking to complement the research with practical measures to combat asthma?