Epidemiologic study of bronchial asthma in schoolchildren from the Azores (Faial).

C Prata, J Marto, I Mouzinho, M Menezes, R Susano


Epidemiologic data on prevalence of bronchial asthma among childhood in the Azores have been unknown so far. In October of 1993 a study was carried out to determine the prevalence of bronchial asthma in children aged 6-12 years on the island of Faial. Nine hundred and twenty seven schoolchildren, representing more than 95% of children within this age group, were studied. A questionnaire was distributed to be filled out by their parents and returned to the schools. Children were considered to have bronchial hyperreactivity when they had an episodical wheeze, spontaneous or related to cold, exercise, airway infections or allergic exposure, and to have asthma when they had been diagnosed by a doctor or had consulted their physicians for dispnea accompanied by wheezing and had received asthma medication in the last year or in their lifetime. The cumulative prevalence of asthma was 8% (CI 95%: 7-9%). Asthma was significantly more common in males (69%; CI 95%: 57-78%) than in females (31%) (p < 0.001). Seventy percent of the diagnoses were made in the first 5 years of life. Allergy was reported more often among asthmatic children (71%: CI 95%: 59-81%) than in the non-asthmatic group (29%) (p < 0.001). Seventy seven percent (CI 95%: 65-85%) of asthmatic subjects had a family history of asthma. Asthma was not reported significantly more often in households with smokers than in those without smokers.

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