Prevalence of bronchial asthma among school-going children in Mangalore, South India
Background: Asthma in childhood is a major public health issue. Objective: To estimate prevalence and associated housing environment factors of asthma among school children. Material & Methods: We conducted a cross sectional study among school children aged six to fifteen years. Standard ISAAC (International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children) Core Questionnaire for Asthma was used for determining the prevalence of wheezing and asthma. Demographic, housing and indoor pollution factors were collected. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 15. Results: Prevalence of ‘wheeze ever’ and ‘current wheezers’ was 10% and 9% respectively. Physician diagnosed asthma was seen in 6.3 %. Severe asthma was noted in 28.6% of current wheezerswith 84.6% and 8.8% having one to two and four to 12 wheezing attacks per year respectively. Wheezing was present post exercise in 5.4%, nocturnal cough in 6.1%, sleep disturbance less than one night/week (40.7%), one or more nights/week (3.3%) and wheezing limiting speech to few words between breaths (20.9%). Prevalence was greater among boys (9.8%) than girls (7.5%) and maximal in age group eight to nine years. On multiple logistic regression presence of overcrowding and absence of smoke outlet were significantly associated with current wheeze. Socio-economic status, beedi rolling practices and absence of separate kitchen was statistically significant with severe asthma. Conclusions: Current wheezer prevalence was9% and more in boys. Adoption of improved housing conditions and avoiding environmental tobacco exposure may aid in reducing childhood asthma attacks in this developing city.