Asthma, atopic eczema and allergic rhino-conjunctivitis in school children

M L Kabir, F Rahman, M Q Hassan, F Ahamed, M A Mridha
Mymensingh Medical Journal: MMJ 2005, 14 (1): 41-5
International Study of Asthma and Allergies of Childhood (ISAAC) phase one study had already been completed in two age groups in 156 collaborating centers of 56 countries involving a total of 721601 children. Bangladesh did not participate earlier in this worldwide study. To determine the prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema in school children of Dhaka district using ISAAC protocol. A school based cross sectional study done in 2000 by using both written questionnaires (WQ) and video questionnaires (VQ). Students of class-VIII (13-14 years) filled up both the WQ and VQ and the parents of class I (6-7 years) filled up only the WQ on behalf of the students. Sixty five (6)5 primary schools and 39 high schools were randomly selected from all 19 thanas to cover equally both the urban and rural schools of the entire area of Dhaka district. A total of 6260 written questionnaires were eligible for the analysis (3029 form 6-7 years of class I and 3231 from 13-14 years of class VIII). In addition, the validated international video questionnaires were used for the older age group (3231). The symptoms of atopic diseases in the previous 12 months or ever in all children, both age groups, both sexes and in both urban and rural areas. The life time (ever) and 12-month period (recent) prevalence of three allergic conditions with 95% CI were as follows : wheezing 13.8% (12.9-14.6), 7.6% (6.9-8.2); allergic rhinitis 25.0% (23.9-26.1), 20.0% (19.1-21.1) and eczema 8.7% (CI 8.0-9.4), 6.5% (5.9-7.2). respectively. The prevalence of wheezing and other atopic features in both age groups of 6-7 years and 13-14 years showed higher features of recent wheeze in the younger children than in the older children, recent wheeze 9.1% Vs 6.1%; but the other atopic features were found lower in younger age group, recent rhinitis 16.3% Vs 23.5%, 0.001; conjunctivitis 6.4% Vs 8.3%, 0.001; recent eczema 6.0% Vs 7.1% 0.001. Male children were found to be more suffering from all types allergic conditions than their female peers: recent wheeze 9.0% Vs 5.9%, recent rhinitis 21.9% Vs 17.9%, recent allergic conjunctivitis 8.7% Vs 6.7% and recent eczema 6.8% Vs 6.2%). Though the prevalence of asthma and atopic eczema was lower than those of developed countries but still appeared to be a major health problem for our children. Allergic rhinitis was the commonest of all atopic problems in children. The younger children (6-7 years) were more likely to suffer from wheeze (asthma) but other allergic problems were more in older group of children (13-14 years). Male children were more prone to all types of allergic problems, whether wheeze or other atopic conditions, than the female peers.

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