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Prevalence trends of rhinoconjunctivitis, eczema, and atopic asthma in Greek schoolchildren: Four surveys during 1991‐2008

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After a continuous increase of asthma, hay fever, and eczema during 1991‐2003 among schoolchildren in Patras, Greece, the prevalence of current wheeze/asthma (diagnosed wheezing and/or asthma in the past 2 years) has reached a plateau (6.9%) during the period 2004‐2008. Using methodology identical to the three previously conducted cross-sectional, parental questionnaire surveys (1991, n = 2417; 1998, n = 3076; 2003, n = 2725) we examined further trends in the prevalence of rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema in the same urban environment among third and fourth grade schoolchildren (8‐9 years old) in 2008 (n = 2688). In the four surveys, respective prevalence rates of rhinoconjunctivitis were 2.1, 3.4, 4.6, and 5.1% (absolute prevalence increase: 1998 versus 1991, 61.9%; 2003 versus 1998, 35.5%; 2008 versus 2003, 10.9%) and those of eczema were 4.5, 6.3, 9.5, and 10.8% (absolute prevalence increase: 1998 versus 1991, 40.0%; 2003 versus 1998, 50.8%; 2008 versus 2003, 13.7%; sex-adjusted p for trend, <0.001). Among current wheezer/asthmatic patients there was an increase in lifetime rhinoconjunctivitis (sex-adjusted p for trend, <0.001) and lifetime eczema (sex-adjusted p for tend, <0.001) over the period 1991‐2008. The proportion of atopic wheeze/asthma (current asthma with lifetime rhinoconjunctivitis and/or eczema) increased further during 2003‐2008 (p < 0.05; p for trend during 1991‐2008, <0.001). In conclusion, there is a continuous increase in the prevalence of allergic manifestations—rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema—among preadolescent children in Patras, Greece, during the period 1991‐2008. After a steep rise during 1991‐2003, the frequency of atopic wheeze/asthma continued to increase at a decelerating rate during 2003‐2008, while wheeze/asthma prevalence remained unchanged during the same 5-year period.
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Keywords: Atopic asthma; Greece; children; eczema; epidemiology; hay fever; prevalence; questionnaire survey; rhinoconjunctivitis; wheeze

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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