Prevalence of asthma and allergic diseases in croatian children is increasing: survey study.

Croat Med J. 2004 Dec;45(6):721-6. Banac S, Lah Tomulic K, Ahel V, Rozmanic V, Simundic N, Zubovic S, Milardovic A, Topic J. Srdan Banac, Rijeka University Hospital Center, Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Allergy, Clinic for Pediatrics

Aim. To estimate the prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis among school children in the region of Primorsko-goranska County in Croatia, and compare the results with data from other countries.

Methods. The study was conducted during the 2001-2002 school year, in complete adherence to the Phase One protocol of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). The target population comprised two age groups (6-7 and 13-14 years) in the region of Primorsko-Goranska County in Croatia. Data were collected using standardized ISAAC written questionnaire and asthma video questionnaire.

Results. There were 1,634 participating children in the 6-7 age group (response rate 80.3%) and 2,194 participating children in the 13-14 age group (response rate 89.8%). Estimated 12-month prevalence rates of symptoms were: wheezing 9.7% and 8.4%, allergic rhinitis symptoms 16.9% and 17.5%, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms 5.6% and 6.7%, and atopic dermatitis symptoms 5.4% and 3.4%, for younger and older age group, respectively.

Conclusion. Results suggest an increase in the prevalence of atopic disease symptoms in north-west part of Croatia over the last few decades when compared to prior studies. The results are suitable for international comparison, suggesting that this part of Croatia is a county with a moderate prevalence of atopic diseases in the pediatric population. The results represent a baseline for further epidemiological research of asthma and allergic diseases.

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