Prevalence and severity of symptoms of asthma, allergic rhino-conjunctivitis and atopic eczema in secondary school children in Ibadan, Nigeria

A G Falade, F Olawuyi, K Osinusi, B O Onadeko
East African Medical Journal 1998, 75 (12): 695-8
This study was part of the effort of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Steering Committee to evaluate the epidemiology of asthma and allergic diseases around the world. Three thousand and fifty eight randomly selected children aged 13-14 years were studied, using a standard questionnaire developed and field tested by the ISAAC Steering Committee, to establish the prevalence and severity of symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and atopic eczema. Of the 3,058 children, there were 1,659 (54.3%) females and 1,399 (45.7%) males (F:M ratio 1.2:1). The cumulative prevalence rates of wheezing, rhinitis other than common cold, and symptoms of eczema were 16.4%, 54.1% and 26.1%, respectively while within the immediate 12-month period, the rates were 10.7%, 45.2% and 22.4%, respectively. However, rhinitis associated with itchy eyes (allergic rhinoconjunctivitis) was reported by 39.2% of the school children. The prevalence of doctor-diagnosed asthma was 18.4%. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that a higher prevalence of wheezing and rhinitis was associated with itchy eyes. The prevalence of severe symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema were higher when compared with a similar study in Kenya. However, the prevalence of symptoms of asthma was lower and that of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis higher in our series. There is a need for further studies to investigate the risk factors which might be responsible for the apparently different patterns in these two African countries.

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