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Free Content Assessing allergic rhinitis in developing countries

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BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis (AR) affects 5% to 40% of the general population. In developing countries, AR is poorly documented and tracked due to a lack of appropriate diagnostic tools.

OBJECTIVE: 1) To validate a questionnaire standardised in industrialised countries to ascertain AR, the Score For Allergic Rhinitis (SFAR), in developing countries; 2) to better understand AR prevalence previously reported from developing countries by comparing results from the SFAR and the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaires.

METHODS: Six African countries were selected for their climates. In each country, 70 individuals with and 30 without nasal symptoms filled out the SFAR and the ISAAC questionnaires. Skin prick tests (SPTs) for allergens were performed by the physician if necessary.

RESULTS: The SFAR presented a close match with the gold standard (the physician's diagnosis of AR backed up by SPT where necessary) in terms of various performance parameters. In particular, it showed high sensitivity (0.84) and specificity (0.81). Compared to the ISAAC questionnaire, the SFAR had greater sensitivity and equal specificity.

CONCLUSIONS: In the absence of a medical visit, the SFAR is a useful standardised screening instrument for the collection of information needed for the identification of AR in developing countries.

Keywords: allergic rhinitis; score; screening; skin prick test; validation

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Centre de Recherches Informatiques, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Villejuif, France 2: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France 3: Service des Maladies Respiratoires, Centre Hospitalière Universitaire, Casablanca, Morocco 4: Service des Maladies Respiratoires, Centre Hospitalière Universitaire, Damascus, Syria 5: Hôpital d'Enfants, Service de Médecine Infantile, Tunis, Tunisia 6: Service des Maladies Respiratoires, Centre Hospitalière Universitaire, Conakry, Guinea 7: Service des Maladies Respiratoires, Centre Hospitalière Universitaire, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire 8: Service des Maladies Respiratoires, Centre Hospitalière Universitaire, Brazzaville, Congo 9: Faculty of Medicine, Khartoum, Sudan 10: Service des Maladies Respiratoires, Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve, Montpellier, France

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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