ALLERGY SEASON AND WE’VE GOT A NEW INVADER IN SA – THE RAGWEED. This week scientists made a landmark discovery when ragweed – a highly allergenic weed native to North America – was detected in South African pollen spore traps for the very first time.

One of the researchers responsible for discovering this is Prof Jonny Peter, an aerobiologist at UCT and Prof Jonny Peter, who heads up the UCT Lung Institute’s Allergy Unit, joined Aden Thomas live on air.

Ragweed is incredibly invasive and its potent pollen has been problematic in the US for many decades. In recent years, allergy sufferers in Europe and South America have also come under threat as ragweed started to invade these areas.

Ragweed thrives in hot, dry environments and produces more pollen when CO2 levels are high. Due to its potency, ragweed poses a serious implication for human health and those previously not affected by pollen allergies, may well develop a sensitivity to ragweed as it proliferates. Refer to media release below for more info.

Pollen counts for SA can also be viewed on

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