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Free Content High prevalence of asthma and atopy in the Canary Islands, Spain

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence of and risk factors for asthma and related conditions in the Canaries, Spain.

METHODS: From a randomised sample of 9506 adults aged 20–44 years who answered a short questionnaire, a random sample corresponding to 20% of the original was taken. Subjects classified as symptomatic in the previous survey and who were not included in the random sample were also invited to participate. The subjects completed a respiratory questionnaire, and underwent spirometry, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) test, skin tests and immunoglobulin E (IgE) measurements.

RESULTS: The random sample included 593 subjects. The prevalence of skin sensitisation to mites was 30.3% (95%CI 26.7–34.2) and the prevalence of IgE to mites 30.5% (95%CI 26.2–35.2). A prevalence of 40.6% (95%CI 35.9–45.5) was found for atopy, 14.1% (95%CI 11.1–17.1) for BHR and 4.2% (95%CI, 2.5–5.9) for asthma. The risk factors most strongly associated with asthma were atopy (OR 4.89, 95%CI 3.07–7.78) and respiratory infection before the age of 5 years (OR 2.78, 95%CI 1.66–4.67).

CONCLUSION: This study shows a high prevalence of sensitisation to mites, atopy, BHR and asthma in the Canaries, similar to that observed in English-speaking countries. We suggest that these findings could partially result from climatic conditions.
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Keywords: asthma prevalence; asthma risk factors; atopy; dust mites

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Servicio de Neumología, Hospital Universitario Dr Negrín, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 2: Hospital Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands 3: Servicio de Análisis Clínicos, Hospital Universitario Dr Negrín, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 4: Unidad de Investigación, Hospital Universitario Dr Negrín, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 5: Servicio de Alergia, Hospital Universitario Dr Negrín, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 6: Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Municipal Institute of Medical Research (IMIM-Hospital del Mar), CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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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.

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